UN Committee Against Torture Urges Iraq to Implement the Yazidi Survivors Law

May 13, 2022
United Nations Headquarters Photo: World Tourism Organization

On May 13, 2022, the UN Committee Against Torture, a body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), issued Concluding Observations for Iraq. The committee made its observations in response to the Iraq’s second periodic report to the committee on the implementation of the CAT.

The committee commended Iraq´s efforts to redress survivors of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence but remained concerned at the information received on the reported slow progress in implementation of the Yazidi Survivors’ Law and the current lack of funds allocated to that effect. It also reiterated concerns raised by the UN Secretary-General that the Law does not address the status of children born of rape by members of ISIL, and the definition of a survivor does not include members of some minority communities. While noting the progress made with respect to the investigations of abductions by ISIL, it added that concerns remain as to the 2,719 people registered as missing.

The committee recommended Iraq to:

  • strengthen its efforts to rescue the victims still in ISIL captivity and investigate and prosecute all acts of conflict-related sexual violence.
  • ensure that victims are able to effectively and expeditiously claim and receive all relevant forms of redress, which includes comprehensive, inclusive, and survivor-centered rehabilitation programmes and guarantees of non-repetition. To this end, the State party should ensure effective and timely implementation of the Yazidi Survivors Law by (i) allocating sufficient funds, (ii) enhancing the processing of claims, (iii) ensuring the active participation of women from conflict-impacted communities in its implementation, for example through consultation or inclusion as staff, and (iv) conducting regular capacity building of all staff working on its implementation, including on ethical and trauma-informed engagement with victims.
  • guarantee the victims’ right to participate in criminal proceedings effectively, accompanied by safeguards to avoid stigmatization, hence re-traumatization and ensuring that specialized rehabilitation services are promptly made available to all survivors.

Committee Against Torture is composed of 10 independent experts of high moral standing and competence in the field of human rights serving in their personal capacity. CAT monitors the compliance of States with the Convention against Torture through, inter alia, state reporting procedure. It revived the state report of Iraq on the 26 and 27 of April 2022. Mr. Hashim Abdullah Mohammad, a lawyer, working at the Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights, personally briefed the committee members on April 25, 2022, at the Palace of Nations in Geneva. Mr. Mohammad presented the shadow report produced by the Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights and the Coalition for Just Reparations with the support of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims.

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