New Iraqi law helps ISIL female victims but more must be done, UN expert says


A UN expert welcomed Iraq’s adoption of a law to provide reparation to women and girls survivors of atrocities committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but said more needs to be done.

The Law on Yazidi [Female] Survivors, adopted on March 01, recognizes crimes committed by ISIL against women and girls from the Yazidi, Turkman, Christian and Shabaks minorities – including kidnapping, sexual enslavement, and forced marriage, pregnancy and abortion – as genocide and crimes against humanity.

“This is a major step towards promoting justice for crimes committed by ISIL,” said the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary.

“When I visited Iraq in February last year, I witnessed the situation of Yazidi women and girls who had survived atrocities by ISIL. Despite their remarkable resilience and strength to rebuild their lives, many continued to live in displacement and faced many challenges to achieve a durable solution.”

Ms. Jimenez-Damary called for “a broad implementation of the law” to also cover survivors from other minorities.

The law provides compensation for survivors, as well as measures for their rehabilitation and reintegration into society and the prevention of such crimes in the future.

The law also provides for pensions, the provision of land, housing and education, and a quota in public sector employment.

At the same time, the Special Rapporteur expressed deep concern over the situation of the children born out of rape by ISIL fighters during the conflict.

Mothers often encounter obstacles to register them because of the absence of a father – and children of Yazidi women born of sexual exploitation and enslavement by ISIL are not accepted in Yazidi communities.

“These children are at risk of abandonment, and these Yazidi mothers face the difficult choice of either leaving their children or their community”, said Ms. Jimenez-Damary.

Unfortunately, this situation is not addressed by this law.

The UN rights expert called on the Government of Iraq to strengthen mediation and social cohesion efforts, with the participation of those affected, to protect the rights of both the children and their mothers, and to work toward “a durable solution to their displacement.”

She also called on the international community to support victim-centred programmes and initiatives in Iraq to this end, as well as to contribute to the implementation of the law. (Source: UN News)