This report examines the ways in which religious minorities in northern Iraq — especially the Nineveh Plains, Sinjar, and Mosul — continue to face serious barriers to their safe return to their homes in the short term and to their secure, ongoing presence in the long term. Although substantial humanitarian assistance from the United States and other international donors has aided reconstruction and stabilization efforts in those areas, tens of thousands of civilians from religious and ethnic minority communities remain internally displaced. More than any other single factor, it is the multi-faceted lack of security, mainly due to the corrosive presence of largely Iranian-backed militias, which continues to impede progress toward improved religious freedom conditions for Iraq’s religiously and ethnically diverse population.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new reports on Bahrain and Iraq.
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns recent Turkish air strikes near civilian areas in Sinjar, Iraq. Turkey claims that these air strikes, the most recent in a series of similar operations that it has conducted in the Sinjar area since 2017, are targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters who have remained in northwestern Iraq since participating in anti-ISIS operations. However, these indiscriminate strikes have taken place in close proximity to towns and camps in which displaced Yazidi families have taken refuge since the 2014 genocide at the hands of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters.
WASHINGTON, DC – Ahead of tomorrow’s fifth anniversary of the Yazidi genocide, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Vice Chair Nadine Maenza and Commissioner Anurima Bhargava traveled to Baghdad, Iraq to stand with survivors at a Yazda event commemorating the thousands who experienced unspeakable atrocities at the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today welcomed President Donald Trump signing H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act.