USCIRF: Tens of thousands of civilians from Iraq’s religious and ethnic minorities remain under serious threat.

Ezidi 24 – Following

The annual report of USCIRF released last Tuesday, stated:

In 2019, religious freedom conditions in Iraq improved incrementally in key areas, but remained concerning overall. Religious minorities in the Nineveh Plains and Sinjar faced major barriers to their safe return in the short term and their secure, ongoing presence in the long term.

The report explained that after the success of the international coalition in ending the regional threat to ISIS in late 2017, many of the areas that the terrorist group once controlled remained under- or uninhabited in 2019.

The report reiterated that Substantial humanitarian assistance from the United States and other international donors bolstered reconstruction and stabilization efforts in those areas, and yet tens of thousands of civilians from religious and ethnic minorities were still at serious risk.

It also mensioned that the majority of Iraqi Christians remained displaced and their challenges even after return have been significant, while Yazidis—500,000 of whom fled ISIS atrocities in 2014—still faced serious distress in 2019. Their collective trauma from ISIS atrocities remained largely unaddressed, typified by the fact that the fates of nearly 3,000 abducted Yazidi women and children are unknown.

The report indicated that, in a United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees survey in February, only 3 percent of Yazidi IDPs who were interviewed planned to return to Sinjar; there is little evidence that this number subsequently improved.

USCIRF is an independent federal government committee of the United States of America agreed upon by the Republican and Democratic parties; created by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998 that tracks the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.

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