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Policy Update - Iraq Brief: Winter 2017

The next year will be a pivotal one in Iraq. The U.S.-led fight against ISIS has yielded significant success. The military battle to defeat ISIS, a group which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson affirmed was “clearly responsible for genocide,” has come to an end. In September 2017, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) held its independence referendum, which passed with 92 percent voting in favor. The implications of the referendum for Iraq’s religious minority communities, especially those living under KRG-controlled areas or in the Disputed Internal Boundaries, remain unclear. 

KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ: New USCIRF Report on Religious Minorities in the KRI

USCIRF's new groundbreaking report, the first of its kind to involve in-person interviews with representatives of almost all religious minority groups in the KRI, notes that "the KRI remains far more welcoming and tolerant to minorities than its regional neighbors" and expresses hope that special effort will be taken to "preserve [the] freedoms and rights" of minorities.

From Sinjar to Mosul


November 10, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As coalition forces begin the liberation of Mosul, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) notes that November 13 is the one-year anniversary of the liberation of Sinjar from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 


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