A Story of Success: Survivors of Conflict-related Sexual Violence in Iraq

Since 2003, Iraq has suffered devasting conflict and insecurity. The country witnessed large-scale violence caused by the terrorist group Da’esh, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). From June 2014, ISIS launched a genocidal campaign against ethno-religious minorities in Iraq. The targeted violence sought to erase the presence of religious minorities in Iraq altogether, and particularly the Yazidis. ISIS decried the Yazidis as devil-worshippers. ISIS executed those who refused religious conversion. This resulted in an estimated 30,000 civilians killed and 55,000 injured. They destroyed countless shrines, churches, temples, and other cultural sites. This also triggered a large-scale displacement crisis with more than 3 million displaced. Ethno-religious communities were particularly targeted, including Yazidis, Christians, Sabean-Mandaeans, Turkmen, Kaka’i, and Shabaks. This triggered existential threats which continue in Iraq to this day.

The Coalition for Just Reparations (C4JR) is an alliance of Iraqi civil society organizations (CSOs). The coalition represents Iraq’s linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity. C4JR is calling for comprehensive reparations for survivors of atrocity crimes perpetrated during the ISIS conflict in Iraq. C4JR draws on international human rights and national law to advance the right to reparations. The coalition seeks to provide a collaborative and safe space where grievances of survivors belonging to all affected groups will be adequately addressed (Yazidi, Turkmen, Shabak, Kakai, Christians, Shia, Sunnis and others).

C4JR based the foundation of their campaign for reparations on two important national and international sources:

  • Iraqi Governments’ consideration of the Yazidi Women Survivors bill proposed by the Iraqi president on April 7, 2019 to provide reparations to survivors of sexual violence and their children, and
  • Joint Communiqué between the Republic of Iraq and the United Nations on the Prevention and Response to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (2016)

These actions gave C4JR an opportunity to ensure that gross violations of human rights and serious violations of humanitarian law, including conflict-related sexual violence, committed during the ISIS conflict in Iraq will be addressed.

This campaign focuses on this problem: “Due to the gross violations of national and international laws committed by ISIS in Iraq the problem of the lack government action on its obligation to provide reparations is resulting in ethno-religious communities, particularly Yazidi women, having their right to remedy before a competent tribunal denied.”

Resource type: 
Country or Region: