On 18 August 2020, Fight for Humanity, in collaboration with the Coalition for Just Reparations (C4JR) organized an online meeting on the rights of victims of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq and North East Syria. 24 participants attended this exchange between local NGOs defending Human Rights in Iraq and North East Syria.
The meeting aimed at sharing experiences between Iraqi and Syrian NGOs, on the topic of the judicial processes against ISIS detainees in Syria, Iraq or in any other country, and exploring possibilities to reinforce collaboration between both sides.
The organizations presented their work, and related challenges, and came up with recommendations to increase collaboration including the creation of a joint mechanism to favour exchange and collaboration. “The crimes committed by ISIS removed the borders [between the countries]” stated a participant from Iraq. “The international experience shows that it takes a long time for criminal justice, but we should have the objectives to work towards this. There is a need to see how we could work together and transfer the work to international bodies”, added a Syrian NGO participant.
This collaboration would facilitate common advocacy to make their voice heard at the local level, but also at the international level. It would be helpful to increase information sharing about abuses that involve both regions.
“One problem is that the ongoing processes in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, tend to favour a justice based on anti-terrorist laws and condemn ISIS members just because they belong to the group, without considering the rights of victims to truth, justice and reparation” says Anki Sjoeberg, Fight for Humanity’s Co-Director.
“Thousands of victims and survivors of ISIS that live in North-East Syria and Iraq are hoping for reparation and justice. Although the situations in Iraq and North East Syria are very different, an increased collaboration and dialogue between both sides would certainly benefit them” added Fight for Humanity’s other Co-Director Mehmet Balci.
Fight for Humanity will keep on working to facilitate a better inclusion of the victims’ perspectives in the debate on ISIS detainees.