HRW re­port on Arab dis­placed peo­ple angers KRG

KRG ex­tremely re­jects HRW ac­cu­sa­tions on abus­ing Iraqi Arab dis­placed

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

HRW re­port ap­pointed fin­ger to­wards the Kur­dish se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence forces for dis­crim­i­nat­ing Iraqi Arabs.

Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment (KRG) high-level of­fi­cial has replied to the Hu­man Rights Watch (HRW) or­ga­ni­za­tion, in which Kur­dish se­cu­rity forces are ac­cused of abus­ing and dis­crim­i­nat­ing Arab civil­ians in Kur­dis­tan.

Din­dar Ze­bari, as­sis­tant head of Kur­dis­tan’s Depart­ment of For­eign Re­la­tions, told a press con­fer­ence in Er­bil, cap­i­tal of the au­ton­o­mous Kur­dis­tan Re­gion in north­ern Iraq, that the KRG “re­jects” all the in­for­ma­tion that have been pub­lished in the HRW re­port.

Ze­bari of­fered the public opin­ion an of­fi­cial statis­tic re­gard­ing the num­ber of the Arab dis­placed who fled from fear of ISIS to the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

There are more than 30 camps for the dis­placed peo­ple in the Kur­dish prov­inces, each takes 50, 000 to 60, 000 peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to Ze­bari.

Ze­bari also said that the ac­cu­sa­tion made against the Kur­dish se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence forces in the dis­puted ar­eas are base­less, and that the KRG will later hold a spe­cial press con­fer­ence to re­spond to those ac­cu­sa­tions.

The prob­lem, Ze­bari said, has been not dou­ble check­ing the in­for­ma­tion they pub­lished in the re­port.

“Iraqi Kur­dish forces have con­fined thou­sands of Arabs in “se­cu­rity zones” in ar­eas of north­ern Iraq that they have cap­tured since Au­gust 2014 from the ex­trem­ist group Is­lamic State, also known as ISIS. Kur­dish forces for months barred Arabs dis­placed by fight­ing from re­turn­ing to their homes in por­tions of Nin­eveh and Er­bil prov­inces, while per­mit­ting Kurds to re­turn to those ar­eas and even to move into homes of Arabs who fled,” HRW re­ports read.

Some lo­cal Kurds told HRW that the Kur­dish peo­ple have de­stroyed the Arab houses in ar­eas that the KRG is seek­ing to in­cor­po­rate them into the au­ton­o­mous Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

“Cor­don­ing off Arab res­i­dents and re­fus­ing to let them re­turn home ap­pears to go well be­yond a rea­son­able se­cu­rity re­sponse to the ISIS threat,” said Letta Tayler, se­nior ter­ror­ism and coun­tert­er­ror­ism re­searcher at Hu­man Rights Watch. “The US and other coun­tries arm­ing the Iraqi Kur­dish forces should make clear that they won’t stand for dis­crim­i­na­tion un­der the guise of coun­ter­ing ter­ror­ism.”

The HRW also said the KRG should in­ves­ti­gate whether their forces car­ried out the ver­bal and phys­i­cal abuse of IS-pris­on­ers seen in the videos posted on so­cial me­dia.

Back to the press con­fer­ence, Ze­bari said that: “The re­port did not rely on any of­fi­cial and re­li­able doc­u­ment and the KRG be­lieves that there is a pur­pose be­hind it be­cause the re­al­ity of the sit­u­a­tion is not like what have been pub­lished in the HRW’s re­port.”

Ze­bari also said that those Arabs who were not al­lowed to en­ter the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion to seek refuse were ei­ther close to ISIS or had sym­pa­thy with ISIS.

He also added that the Kur­dish se­cu­rity forces did not al­low Kur­dish and Arab res­i­dents of those ar­eas re­taken by Pesh­marga to re­turn to their houses be­cause of the se­cu­rity mea­sures.

“Pesh­marga forces have never blow off the house of Arab peo­ple, but ISIS blew them off be­fore they with­drew or they had been de­stroyed dur­ing the clashes.”

Arab res­i­dents in one cor­doned-off zone said that KRG forces de­tained 70 lo­cal Arab men for long pe­ri­ods with­out charge.

But in De­cem­ber, Kur­dish of­fi­cials jus­ti­fied some re­stric­tions on Arab civil­ians, point­ing out that many Arabs have as­sisted the Is­lamic state (IS) ad­vance and might again col­lab­o­rate with the armed group, which is pre­dom­i­nantly Sunni Arab.

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