Helping survivors of ISIS conflict in Iraq realize their right to reparations

Forging the C4JR

Who we are?

Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights (Jiyan Foundation) is a non-governmental human rights organization based in Kurdistan/Iraq and Berlin. Since 2005, the Jiyan Foundation has provided support to survivors of human rights abuses in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Today, the Jiyan Foundation runs a network of eleven trauma rehabilitation centers in North Iraq, including special departments for traumatized women and children, a clinic for Yazidi women who survived captivity of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), services for juvenile detainees and female prisoners, and a human rights education program. In addition to medical doctors and psychologists, which provide free-of-charge medical and psychological treatments, the Jiyan Foundation hosts a team of lawyers whose principal aim is to offer legal assistance to our clients. For more info about the Jiyan Foundation please visit this link.

What we want?

We seek to put together a network of civil society organizations (CSOs), representing Iraq´s linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity. This network (Coalition for Just Reparations (C4JR)), shall proceed to work and advocate for the establishment of a comprehensive state funded reparation program for all victims of gross human rights violations perpetrated during the ISIS armed conflict in Iraq. After C4JR is established, the Jiyan Foundation will take part in the activities on an equal footing with all other coalition members.

Why is the coalition needed?

Armed conflict that spread across Iraq with the advent of ISIS at the beginning of 2014 accelerated an already existing spiral of violence to an unprecedented level. As a result, at least 30,000 civilians were killed, 55,000 injured and more than 3 million were displaced. Currently, the main focus has been, and rightly so, on bringing ISIS atrocities to justice. However, many victims have suffered from crimes committed by individuals which will never be brought to justice either because the perpetrators are dead or unknown. It is also the case that criminal trials are generally ill-suited for awarding reparations to victims of armed conflict. Although convicting wrongdoers may be seen as a form of satisfaction, criminal justice can, at best, only facilitate awarding material compensation. Even so, considering the scale of atrocities and the fact that individual perpetrators are often lacking resources, the prospects of victims obtaining compensation via criminal proceedings are extremely limited. It is unacceptable that a state can discharge its obligation to provide reparations only by paying relatively small sums to survivors or families of victims. Much wider engagement is necessary, designed and agreed upon in close contact with victims themselves. In addition to material compensation, restitution, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition should be squarely addressed. As a coalition, we hope to focus attention on the civilian victims of armed conflict and their right to reparation. In order for their voices to be heard, a coordinated response is required: a coalition of CSOs working with and/or championing the cause of Iraq’s diverse communities. Considering the current media spotlight, now more than ever is the time to act.

Key facts – legacy of ISIS conflict
– 5,625,000 displaced (IOM May 2019)
– $45.7bn in damage. (WSJ 2018)
– 29,000 civilians killed, 54,000 wounded (UNI September 2017)
– At least 7600 women and girls abducted (includingYazidi, Shi’i Turkmen and Christian)
– Extensive contamination with improvised mines and other explosive devices (Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor 2018)
– Specific Groups targeted: Yazidis, Christians, Shabaks, Turkmen, Shi’a , Kaka’i, Sabean Mandaeans etc..