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Follow-up to the concluding observations on Iraq of the Committee Against Torture and Human Rights Committee – “Dialogue on Reparative Justice: Ensuring Effective Reparations in Iraq”

Follow-up to the concluding observations on Iraq of the Committee Against Torture and Human Rights Committee - “Dialogue on Reparative Justice: Ensuring Effective Reparations in Iraq”

Co-hosted by: Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights, Coalition for Just Reparations, International Organization for Migration, UN Assistance Mission for Iraq in cooperation with the General Directorate for Survivors Affairs

Date: Sunday, June 26th, 10:00 am-3:00 pm AST

The UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June marks the moment in 1987 when the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, one of the key instruments in fighting torture, came into effect. Today, the Convention has been ratified by 162 countries.

On March 30, 2022 the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), a body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, published its findings on Iraq. HRC commended the adoption of the Yazidi Female Survivors Law in March 2021, but also recommended Iraq to:

  • adopt all possible measures to free Yazidi women and children in captivity by ISIL members in Iraq;
  • investigate and prosecute sexual offences committed by ISIL members during thearmed conflict against Yazidi women and girls, ensure perpetrators are punished and the victims or members of their families accorded full reparation;
  • amend National Identity Card Law in order to take into account the situation of children born to non-Muslim mothers where the father is unknown or uninvolved in the life of the child, in particular children born of rape to Yazidi women previously held captive by ISIL.
  • ensure the return of IDPs to their former places of residence or full integration into society in appropriate new places of residence
  • ensure that all persons residing IDP camps, including persons with possible ties to ISIL, have an adequate standard of living and security without discrimination

On May 13, 2022, the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT), 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.

UNCAT commended Iraq´s efforts to redress survivors of conflict-related 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. UNCAT 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.

 

UNCAT and HRC have requested from Iraq, in line with their formal follow-up procedures, to report back and indicate the measures taken to implement recommendations dealing with, inter alia, conflict-related sexual violence and transitional justice respectively. This should be done by May 13 2023 for the UNCAT and March 25 2025 in respect of the HRC.

The aim of this event is to follow up on the specific recommendations of the human rights treaty bodies, assist Iraqi authorities in their implementation and strengthen collaborative relationships of survivors, CSO and state authorities.

Program

Time

Session and Presenter

10:00 — 10:30

Opening remarks

·         Ms. Annette Lyth, United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)

·         Ms. Sandra Orlovic, Head of IOM Iraq’s Reparations Program

·         Ms. Sarab Alias, Director General of the General Directorate of Yazidi Female Survivors’ Affairs

10:30 — 10:45

Overview of the CAT and HRC Recommendations to Iraq addressing conflict related sexual violence and transitional justice

Dr. Bojan Gavrilovic, Head of Program for Rights and Justice, Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights

10:45 — 11:05

Survivor Statements on challenges and expectations

Survivors

11:05 — 11:15

Adverse effects of massive forced conscription of Yazidi children by ISIL

Mr. Hasso Hirme, Head of the International Yazidi Foundation for the Prevention of Genocide

11:15 — 11:30

Break

11:30 — 12:00

Towards a viable action plan on YSL Implementation

 Ms. Sandra Orlovic, Head of IOM Iraq’s Reparations Program

12:00 — 12:30

Reply by state officials and other interested parties

Ms. Sarab Alias, Director General of the General Directorate of Yazidi Female Survivors’ Affairs

12:30 — 12:45

Prosecuting CRSV crimes in Iraq: the way forward

Ms. Natia Navrouzov, Legal Advocacy Director, Yazda

12: 45 — 13:00

 Reply by state officials and other interested parties

13:00 — 13:15

Amending the National Identity Card law and other measures to address children born of war

Ms. Gazang Salam, Emma Organization for Human Development

13:15 — 13:30

Reply by state officials and other interested parties

13:30 — 13:45

Break

13:45 — 14:00

Towards a viable rehabilitation program in Iraq for ISIL survivors

Ms. Insherah Musa, IOM consultant on MHPSS services for CRSV survivors

14:00 — 14:15

Reply by state officials and other interested parties

14:15 — 14:30

Measures to liberate survivors still in ISIL captivity

Ms. Hewan Omer, Country Director, Free Yezidi Foundation

14:30 — 14:45

Reply by state officials and other interested parties

14:45 — 14:55

Summing up the discussion and mapping the way forward

Mr. Augustine Bahemuka, United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)

14:55 — 15:00

Closing remarks

Ms. Danielle Bell, Representative and Chief of UNAMI Human Rights Office

15:00

Lunch

The roundtable was conducted as an in-person event, with simultaneous interpretation in English and Arabic.

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Jiyan Welcomes Director General of Survivors Affairs, Ms. Sarab Elias to Chamchamal

Jiyan Welcomes Director General of Survivors Affairs, Ms. Sarab Elias to Chamchamal

On June 21st 2022, Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights welcomed a very special guest, Ms. Sarab Elias Director General of Survivors Affairs established under the Yazidi Female Survivors Law (YSL). Jiyan staff welcomed Director Elias at the Psychosomatic Trauma Clinic for Women in Chamchamal where our staff provides stabilization treatment, psychotherapy and psychoeducation to primarily Yazidi women and their children.

We provided the Director General with an overview of Jiyan’s work focusing on the Trauma Care and Health Program and Psychosomatic Clinic in Chamchamal. Yazidi survivors staying here had an opportunity to pose questions and engage with Ms. Elias regarding the YSL.

The visit ended with a tour of Jiyan’s Chamchamal Treatment Center and the Healing Garden, a unique facility made from renewable materials that serve women and children who have experienced violence and persecution. Most importantly, The Healing Garden is designed to provide optimal conditions for conducting animal-assisted interventions and horticultural therapy.

Jiyan Foundation extends its full support to Director Elias and honors her commitment to making #YSL a reality. Jiyan’s Chairman Mr. Salah Ahmad pledged full support for all future endeavors aimed at delivering on YSL promises.

How Jiyan Foundation worked to support the Yazidi Female Survivors Law

Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights founded the Coalition for Just Reparations, an alliance of Iraqi civil society organizations (CSOs), representing Iraq’s linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity, supporting reparation claims of survivors and other victims of crimes perpetrated during the conflict with the self-declared Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS conflict in Iraq). Together, members of the Coalition worked toward ensuring the passing and effective implementation of the Yazidi Female Survivors Law. You can read the full C4JR success story here.

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