Arabs are forbidden to return home by Kurdistan Regional Government

Asayish KDP party security forces in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan Asayish KDP party security forces in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan Rudaw

19 July 2020

Terrorism forbids 1,200 Arabic families to go back to their villages, Human Rights Watch informed

Being born in a non-privileged country can be a big disadvantage as the right to go back home safely can be restricted anytime. 

Despite  the 5 villages (Jidria, Mahmoudia, Qahira, Suadia, and Sufiya) were taken back from the Islamic State, 1,200 arabic families are still barred from going back to their villages as informed by Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch  (HRW). On the other hand, Kurdish residents in neighboring villages, in the Rabia subdistrict, west of Dohuk,  are allowed to go back to their homes. People who used to live in the above-mentioned villages said that the Peshmerga, military forces of the Kurdistan autonomous region, keeps control of the area. More clashes between the Peshmerga and Iraqi Security Forces started in October 2017 following the confirmation of a non-binding referendum on independence proposed by the KRG military forces. A Qahira resident said “We all fled the village because of shelling along the front line, about seven kilometers southwest of our village. We went [to] Rabia town and tried to return home in November [2017], but Peshmerga forces refused to let us return.” Laws about the protection of the weakest aren’t followed even though the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement mentions being protected from being displaced from their home as a right.

Dindar Zebari, the KRG coordinator for international advocacy, informed that local community leaders cannot return because of unnamed “armed groups'' and ISIS sleeper cells, Turkish airstrikes, Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) presence, and Covid-19 restrictions. He assured Zebari some initiatives are being taken between the KRG and Baghdad to allow returns. Mr. Wille concluded that there is no justification why KRG forbids the Arab families to return to their villages as they are supposed to have the same right as Kurdish people. 


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Author: Giulia Francescon; Editor: Shrabya Ghimire

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