Baghdad, 12 December 2017 - A team from the Human Rights office of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) conducted a mission to Tuz Khurmatu in Salah al-Din Governorate on 7 December 2017 to investigate reports of punitive destruction of property of residents who have been displaced by the clashes in the area in October and reports of intimidation to prevent the safe return of the displaced to their homes.
This visit has been i.a. prompted by repeated reports about indiscriminate targeting of civilians, forced evictions and destruction of property prior to but notably after 16 October 2017 that UNAMI addressed i.a. in its statement of 19 October. In that statement and in a briefing to the UN Security Council meeting in New York on 22 November by Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq Ján Kubiš, at least 150 houses belonging to Turkmen and Kurds were reportedly set ablaze and there were other reports of acts of violence. Moreover, the United Nations expressed concern about the clashes in the town which have inflicted casualties, and triggered a new wave of displacements primarily from the Kurdish community.
During the mission to Tuz Khurmatu last week, the UNAMI team visited several areas in the town and met with a number of officials. UNAMI officials also have met in Erbil with a number of representatives of Tuz Khurmatu displaced residents and listened to their accounts about the circumstances surrounding the alleged attacks. Another UNAMI mission to Tuz Khurmatu was planned in the coming days to visit also other areas including those suggested by the displaced residents to further investigate the allegations.
UNAMI also expresses its concern about the recent repeated indiscriminate mortar attacks which has inflicted losses, including civilian casualties from among the Turkmen community in the town that were followed by a retaliatory action. It calls for an immediate end to acts that threaten the security and the safety of Kurdish and Turkmen communities and their civilian residents. It also calls upon the Government of Iraq to deploy all necessary measures that will put an end to any violence and violations of human rights, ensure law and order and establish calm and stability in Tuz Khurmatu, also to facilitate return of IDPs and normal functioning of the city, district and all its communities.
For more information, please contact: Mr. Samir Ghattas, Director of Public Information/Spokesperson United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Phone: +964 790 193 1281, Email: email@example.com or the UNAMI Public Information Office: firstname.lastname@example.org