HRW report on Arab displaced people angers KRG
KRG extremely rejects HRW accusations on abusing Iraqi Arab displaced
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.