Washington, D.C. (October 3,2017) – Many Iraqi women and girls perceived or alleged to be affiliated with ISIS are reportedly being detained and subject to sexual exploitation and abuse, according to a new Refugees International issue brief released today. The brief, “Guilt by Association: Iraqi Women Detained and Subject to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse,” outlines alleged cases of abuse in de facto detention camps throughout the country, at the hands of Iraqi security forces and other authorities.
“Information regarding such cases has been circulating within Iraq in the aftermath of the operation to liberate Mosul, but there hasn’t been a concerted effort to protect these women and girls. The Government of Iraq and all actors responsible for the protection of civilians must give this its due attention immediately,” said Francisca Vigaud-Walsh, RI senior advocate for women and girls.
Many displaced Iraqis – primarily women and children – suspected of ISIS sympathies or family ties have been forcibly relocated into camps where they are detained indefinitely, their documentation seized, and their freedom of movement severely restricted. RI interviewed dozens of humanitarian workers with knowledge of alleged violations occurring in camps in the Ninewa, Salaheddin, and Anbar governorates. The humanitarian workers report witnessing inhumane conditions and described in detail the exploitation of women and girls in exchange for essential aid items, such as food and access to health services.
“The right to humane treatment is at the core of international humanitarian law and all civilians in Iraq, regardless of their perceived or alleged affiliations, are entitled to access to safety, security, and humanitarian assistance,” Vigaud-Walsh concludes.
Read the full issue brief here.
Read the latest RI field report on internal displacement in Iraq here.
For interviews with Francisca Vigaud-Walsh, please contact Gail Chalef, senior communications officer, at (202) 540-7026 or (202) 290-8608.