Women with suspected links to 'IS' suffer sexual abuse, Amnesty says

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 17, 2018

Fingered as either Islamic State sympathizers, or for having a male family member join the group, the women have languished with their children in the camps and have been subjected to sexual abuse and humiliation for their perceived affiliation with the militants, according to the report.

Four women told researchers they had either witnessed rape or heard the screams of a woman in a nearby tent who was being raped by armed men, members of the camp administration, or other camp residents - with claims that women were being coerced into sexual relationships in exchange for desperately needed cash, humanitarian aid and protection from other men.

Two women from Russian Federation, both holding children in their arms, were also sentenced to life in prison at the same hearing, while five from Azerbaijan were condemned to death along with a woman from Trinidad. "Each night, I say to myself, 'Tonight is the night I'm going to die'".

This was also the sentiment for many in the camps that Amnesty International visited. "The very people who are supposed to be protecting them are turning into predators", said Colm O'Gorman.

"The Iraqi government must show it is serious about ending the violations against these women by holding all perpetrators to account and stopping all armed men from entering the camps".

A soldier of the Iraqi army on a house roof at the front line in the embattled district of Bark, south-eastern Mosul.

Those who have made it home have faced evictions, forced displacement, looting, threats and abuse, including sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Others have had their power cut off, or even their homes destroyed.

"Sometimes I ask myself: why didn't I just die in an airstrike?" said Maha, another woman interviewed for the report.

I feel I am at my end. I am completely alone - without my husband, my father - no one is with me anymore.

The EU is a major contributor to humanitarian aid and in 2018 there is likely to be a "drying up" of the global funding for Iraq, according to Waldman.

Since the fall of Mosul, eyewitnesses and humanitarian organisations have documented widespread abuses by the Iraqi forces.

"To put an end to the poisonous cycle of marginalisation and communal violence that has plagued Iraq for decades, the Iraqi government and worldwide community must commit to upholding the rights of all Iraqis without discrimination", Ms Maalouf wrote. "These families must be allowed to return home without fear of intimidation, arrest or attacks", said Colm O'Gorman.

Amnesty also called on Iraqi authorities to "immediately end the systematic and widespread practise of forcibly disappearing men and boys with perceived ties to Islamic State that has left thousands of wives, mothers, daughters and sons in desperate situations".

The London-based rights group said its latest report is based on 92 interviews with women in eight camps for displaced Iraqis in the provinces of Nineveh and Salaheddin, north of Baghdad. Researchers also interviewed 30 local and global NGO workers, 11 members of camp administrations and nine current and former United Nations officials.

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