Institute for International Law and Human Rights

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IILHR’s work includes extensive participation in drafting more than 100 different analyses of legislative and constitutional issues for the Iraqi Council of Representatives and the Kurdistan Regional Parliament. IILHR has also provided commentary on approaches to a broad spectrum of issues, including constitutional review, gender law, Iraq’s human rights commission, social safety net development, freedom of expression and information, accountability, transitional justice, cultural heritage, and minority rights.

A Comparative Look at Implementing Human Rights Commission Laws

Offers recommendations for the implementation of the Law of the High Commission for Human Rights by presenting comparative findings on national human rights institutions in various states. States examined include, but are not limited to, Canada, Palestine, Timor-Leste, Kenya, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and South Africa. Issues examined include broad versus narrow mandates, independence from government control, independence in respect to funding, the role of domestic legislation, and flexibility and transparency.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil & Political Rights | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

Access to Housing for Vulnerable Populations in Iraq

Presents, through comparative analysis of state practices, options regarding how Iraq can provide access to housing for its vulnerable populations. Specifically examines the way in which other countries have sought to create housing rights in their constitutions and statutes; the manner in which these countries have allowed for the justifiability of economic, social and cultural rights, in particular, adequate housing; and various positive discrimination or affirmative action policies used to provide adequate housing.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil Society | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Women's Rights

Between the Millstones: The State of Iraq’s Minorities Since the Fall of Mosul

“Between the Millstones: The State of Iraq’s Minorities Since the Fall of Mosul” aims to document the plight of Iraq’s minorities most affected by the violence that has gripped northern Iraq since June 2014. This report, based on extensive interviews, field work, and research, seeks to complement other human rights reporting to highlight the situation of Iraq’s minorities in light of the violence that has pervaded northern Iraq since June 2014 and the resulting humanitarian catastrophe. This publication is the product of a partnership of four organizations: IILHR, Minority Rights Group International, No Peace Without Justice, and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. The report was released February 27 in Brussels.

Based on the facts uncovered in this report, it appears that ISIS forces and commanders have committed most of the war crimes prohibited under international law, almost all of the underlying acts for crimes against humanity; and information exists which would support a prima facie case that ISIS forces have committed the crime of genocide against religious minorities in northern Iraq, in particular against the Yezidi minority. The report makes 38 key recommendations to alleviate the humanitarian burden, prevent further human rights abuses, promote reconciliation, and accelerate planning for the post-ISIS era.

Report
Civil & Political Rights | Civil Society | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

Comparative Analysis of Minority Protection Legislation

Examines state practice regarding the necessary and common components of minority legislation. Comprehensive legislation should include anti-discrimination measures, minority rights legislation, and the creation of institutions to monitor minority protections. Specifically, most state models incorporate identity, language, employment, education, media, and participation in public life.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil & Political Rights | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

Comparative Look at International Standards and Best State Practices on Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Identifies, though comparative state practice, the necessary and common components of anti-discrimination legislation and implementation in contemporary states based on international standards. Suggests that the enumeration of the right to non-discrimination and equality in the constitution is necessary but not sufficient and that comprehensive legislation is also needed. Examines international covenants on civil and political rights and the practices of states such as South Africa, Canada, Serbia, Morocco, the U.S., and others.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil & Political Rights | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

Criteria for Selecting Commissioners of the High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq Composition and Mechanism of Secretariat

Examines and compares the selection criteria for Human Rights Commissioners in Canada, Afghanistan, New Zealand, Kenya, and Australia. Suggests criteria related to language skills, educational qualifications, and professional experience that may be required of individuals considered for commissioner positions. Also provides comparative analysis of Human Rights Commission composition, functioning, and degree of independence for the above-named countries.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil & Political Rights | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

Crossroads: The Future of Iraq’s Minorities after ISIS

Brussels, 7 June 2017 — IILHR, in partnership with three other human rights organizations, released its third annual assessment of the state of Iraq’s minorities after the fall of Mosul in June 2014. The document is meant to complement other reporting on Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities; it also offers 63 specific recommendations that can help to relieve the existential pressure on these long-suffering groups.

On the third anniversary of the fall of Mosul, the focus is on the future. Minority communities in Iraq fear their ancestral lands will be stolen by government-backed forces as ISIS is pushed back, the new report finds. Territories “liberated” from ISIS months ago remain occupied by militias, Peshmerga, and Iraqi Security Forces while Yezidis, Christians, Shabak, and Turkmen have yet to return.

Based on extensive fieldwork in conflict-affected Ninewa and other parts of Iraq, “Crossroads: The Future of Iraq’s Minorities after ISIS” is the third in a series of definitive annual reports on the state of Iraq’s minorities, published by Minority Rights Group International (MRG), IILHR, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). Financial support for the project was provided by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

“ISIS is not yet defeated, but the rush to grab their former territory is already well underway,” says Mark Lattimer, MRG’s Executive Director. “East of Mosul, the Ninewa plains formerly home to Iraq’s minorities are now one ghost town after another, inhabited only by militias.” The last year has seen continued high rates of refugee flight from Iraq, particularly by minority Christians and Yezidis. With insecure conditions for internally displaced persons, many more plan to flee.

“With the impending liberation of Iraqi territory from ISIS forces, minority populations continue to diminish. All indications point to a post-ISIS phase that could be just as — or even more —dangerous to minority groups than the ISIS occupation. Many leaders fear that the “peace” could be more perilous for their survival as communities than the “war,” says William Spencer, Executive Director of IILHR.

This report makes 63 specific recommendations to the Government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the international community tackling the humanitarian, legal, asylum, and other needs of minorities. The report warns that if their concerns are not addressed, there will be a continuing and lasting legacy of inter-communal animosity in conflict affected areas and the ultimate departure of ethnic and religious minority populations from many parts of Iraq.

Report
Civil & Political Rights | Civil Society | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

IILHR Comments on Constitutional Amendments

Provides commentary and analysis on amendments to the Iraqi Constitution.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil & Political Rights | Constitutional Development | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Judiciary | Rule of Law

IILHR Comments: Disability Draft Law

Examines the Disability draft law and provides suggestions for improvement and clarity article by article. Main areas of concern include the need to follow international standards when defining disability and other terms, to include that the underlying goal of the law is to promote equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities and support their integration into mainstream society, as well as others. Also suggests the inclusion of financial analysis and implications.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil & Political Rights | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Rule of Law

IILHR Comments: Student Salary/Scholarship Draft Law

Analyzes and comments on the Student Salary/Scholarship draft law. Main areas of concern and comment include that the mechanics of how this law will be implemented need to be clarified; the monitoring process, which is essential to the functioning of such a program, also needs clarification. Provides article-by-article analysis and addresses questions and ambiguities that may arise from the current language.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil Society | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Rule of Law

IILHR Legislative Review of the Draft Law on Rights of the Innocents

Analyzes and comments on the Rights of the Innocents draft law. Main areas of concern include the fact that the law may duplicate various articles of the constitution that already protect the rights to life, liberty, and security, those that protect privacy, those that protect against unlawful arrest and detention, and those that guarantee the right to litigate; that the definition of “innocent” under the draft law is narrow enough to risk unconstitutionally abridging rights guaranteed to all in the constitution; that the purpose of the law may be better suited for a law prohibiting libel and slander than one protecting the rights of the innocents. Provides article-by-article analysis.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil & Political Rights | Constitutional Development | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Rule of Law

IILHR Legislative Review of the Draft Law on Women’s Care

Analysis of a draft law in the Iraqi Council of Representatives on the Care of Women without Supporters, looking at existing provisions of the Women’s Care draft law and examining international practice to suggest additional provisions that the Council of Representatives may wish to consider to achieve economic, social, and cultural equality for women in Iraq.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil & Political Rights | Civil Society | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

IILHR Memo Legal Approach on 2009 Budget Law Articles

Advises on the draft Budget Law for 2009 by analyzing the Ministry of Finance’s amendments to the draft Budget Law for 2009 and the commentary of Taleb Ayfan, Advisor to the Iraqi Council of Representative’s Committee on Financial Affairs. Provides means to strengthen the ability of provinces and municipalities to provide basic social and municipal services and to perform their functions effectively by allocating budget items and managerial responsibility directly to provincial government bodies.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Rule of Law

IILHR Memo on Implementing International Human Rights Related Treaty Obligations in Iraq

Analyzes potential conflicts in the authority for implementing human rights treaties under the Iraqi Constitution and outlines the basic process for pursuing treaty implementation. Discusses several options for treaty implementation including exclusive treaty implementation power granted to the Council of Representatives and shared implementation power between the federal and regional governments. Describes the treaty implementation process and provides state comparisons.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil & Political Rights | Civil Society | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

IILHR Memo on Nationality

Identifies, through comparative state practice, international approaches to naturalization and citizenship legislation. Examines practices in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, and other states and compares those states whose requirements are liberal versus those that have exclusive requirements.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil & Political Rights | Civil Society | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Rule of Law

Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights: Bylaws, Regulation, and Legal Framework

IILHR has developed a wide-ranging resource tool and reference guide that can provide needed support to fully establish the new Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights.

“Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights: Bylaws, Regulations, and Legal Framework” starts with international standards and the commission’s enabling legislation as a framework, and it then considers more than 30 country examples to support the process of developing an infrastructure, rules of procedure, complaints handling regulations, financial and procurement regulations, staffing regulations, codes of conduct, and a host of other issues.

The toolkit is organized by topic and each section considers the current legal framework as well as country examples relating to how each task may be accomplished. It also includes recommendations tailored to the new commission and the Iraqi context for stakeholders to consider. The toolkit also addresses the importance of collaboration with civil society and potential mechanisms for coordination with government, parliament, donors, and other groups. Where appropriate, IILHR provides sample regulations and procedures for each issue as a starting point for development and consideration.

Though there is extensive research on national human rights institutions, much of it is theoretical and specific comparative examples are seriously lacking. IILHR developed this book to fill that research gap and provide tangible examples for consideration that can be used not only by the Iraqi Commission but also by other national human rights institutions worldwide.

Handbook
Civil & Political Rights | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Rule of Law

Iraq’s Minorities and Other Vulnerable Groups: Legal Framework, Documentation, and Human Rights

The Institute for International Law and Human Rights has developed a comprehensive report examining the de jure and de facto situation of Iraq’s minority components and other vulnerable populations to support the assessment of asylum claims within countries to which Iraqi refugees apply for protection and to complement other resources on Iraq’s vulnerable populations.

“Iraq’s Minorities and Other Vulnerable Groups: Legal Framework, Documentation, and Human Rights” provides an overview of key human rights, documentation, and legal challenges common to many minority components in today’s Iraq — including minority women — and suggests targeted recommendations to the central government, the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the international community. It then provides information on how Iraqi identity documents are processed and the requirements for issuance of documents including birth certificates, passports, and national identity cards, drawing from the Iraqi Foreign Ministry’s Consular Handbook and other sources. The book then offers an analysis of Iraq’s legal framework as it relates to citizenship, personal status, criminalized behavior, voluntary return to Iraq, and issues specific to particular components.

Finally, the report provides detailed information on the situation of 16 Iraqi components and vulnerable groups, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons. Details on ethno-religious minorities and other populations include historical background, approximate demographics, security situation, human rights challenges, humanitarian situation, diaspora and returnees, and the situation of women and children.

Handbook
Civil & Political Rights | Civil Society | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

Legal Memorandum Trade Union and Syndicate Legislation: International Practice

Provides a comparative analysis of international practice with respect to the bifurcation of trade union and syndicate laws. Examines legislative practice in the United States, Germany, Jordan, and Australia regarding the right to collective bargaining.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Rule of Law

Legislative Review of the Draft Law on Child Protection

Analyzes the Child Protection draft law. Main areas of concern and comment include expanding the scope of the law to encompass all the rights guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child; ensuring that the law does not discriminate on any basis; adding provisions against practices harmful to girls’ rights, such as female genital mutilation; abolishing or amending existing legislation that contravenes the Convention on the Rights of the Child; strengthening legal penalties for those who harm children; using terminology that conforms to international standards and clearly and consistently defining the term “children”; clarifying the processes and measures for implementing the law’s provisions; elaborating on the roles and responsibilities of the National Childhood Committee and the Childhood Protection Department created by the law; and mandating that the new Committee and Department are adequately staffed by qualified personnel, including a minimum number of women.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil & Political Rights | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Women's Rights

Minorities and the Law in Iraq

IILHR has produced “Minorities and the Law” in Iraq, which offers a groundbreaking analysis of the body of Iraqi law as it affects Iraq’s minorities, as well as recommendations to bring Iraqi law into compliance with international standards and Iraq’s Constitution.

Handbook
Civil & Political Rights | Civil Society | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

Minority Protections in Iraq: Implementing Article 125 of Iraq’s Constitution

Analyzes minority autonomy issues as a way to further implement Iraq’s Constitution and comply with the legislative requirements for local administrations called for in Article 125. Provides a survey of local autonomy regimes with examples taken from around the world in an effort to clarify issues and present options to Iraqi citizens. Suggests that the most common way to establish mechanisms to allow minority groups to have representative self-governments is through the creation of autonomous regions or smaller local governments.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil & Political Rights | Civil Society | Constitutional Development | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Women's Rights

Moving the Issue of Minorities in Iraq Forward

Outlines a range of potential actions that IILHR could take to advance the cause of minority rights, representation, protection, and cohesion, within the context of our grant with the State Department.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Civil & Political Rights | Civil Society | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

No Way Home: Iraq’s Minorities on the Verge of Disappearance

On 4 July 2016, IILHR, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), Minority Rights Group International (MRG), and No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) launched a second joint report documenting the state of Iraq’s minority components since the advance of ISIS in 2014. The report, titled “No Way Home: Iraq’s Minorities on the Verge of Disappearance,” is a follow-up report to “Between the Millstones: The State of Iraq’s Minorities since the Fall of Mosul,” published in February 2015.

“No Way Home: Iraq’s Minorities on the Verge of Disappearance” documents how many thousands of persons belonging to Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities have been murdered, maimed, or abducted, including unknown numbers of women and girls forced into marriage or sexual enslavement, after the fall of Mosul in June 2014.

Iraq’s Christian population, which before 2003 numbered as many as 1.4 million, is now fewer than 250,000. Most of the Yezidi and Kaka’i have been forced from their traditional lands and are now internally displaced or have fled the country altogether, while Shi’a Turkmen and Shabak have been driven to the south. As of June 2016 there were as many as 3.4 million displaced persons, making Iraq the country with the highest number and fastest growing rate of people displaced in the world in 2015. Overall, the UN estimates that 10 million people have now been affected by displacement and are in need of humanitarian assistance. Minority communities have taken the brunt of this mass movement of people.

“Families are destroyed. Homes, businesses, and farms have been looted. Heritage is either demolished or sold. Survivors will have nothing to return to, unless Iraq and the international community take more robust action to address the crushing needs of minorities,” said William Spencer, of IILHR.

Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) forces and commanders have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, including the use of chemical weapons, summary executions, killing, mutilation, rape, sexual violence, torture, cruel treatment, the use and recruitment of children, and outrages on personal dignity, says the report. Iraqi Security Forces, Popular Mobilization Units, and Peshmerga have also committed war crimes prohibited under international law.

Many uprooted by the violence within Iraq hoped they would be able to return home within a relatively short timeframe. However, internally displaced persons (IDPs) interviewed said that the lack of basic services and security in many locations mean that as many as one in five of them feel that they have no choice but to flee the country. The anticipated displacement from a possible effort to retake Mosul could total as many as 1 million over the next year and the international community could witness the flight of hundreds of thousands of further refugees in 2016 alone.

The report makes 54 key recommendations to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and prevent future human rights abuses, as well as making proposals on justice, reconciliation, and asylum issues and improving institutions and legislation.

Report
Civil & Political Rights | Civil Society | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

Reclaiming Identity: Strategies for Civil Documentation in Iraq

Based on extensive fieldwork, interviews, consultations and research, this report analyzes the crisis of missing documentation with the goal of finding workable, durable, and implementable solutions. This report highlights the importance of civil documents and the difficulties faced by Iraqis who lack civil documentation. It identifies the groups most affected by missing documentation. It investigates the barriers – procedural, situational, and cultural – that exist in the current system of issuing documents. It also addresses regional variation in the numbers of Iraqis missing documentation and the challenges they face obtaining civil documentation. This kind of detailed data and analysis is especially important now, in the wake of the de-activation of Iraq’s protection cluster system, as part of the UN’s transition away from a primarily humanitarian- focused response and a significant decrease in international funding for humanitarian aid. An accurate understanding of whose needs are most pressing, where, and why, is crucial to planning and implementing policies and effectively targeting assistance.

Posted: April 2024

Report
Civil & Political Rights | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Minority Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

Women and the Law in Iraq

IILHR released a comprehensive overview of Iraq’s legal framework as it pertains to gender and the laws’ compliance with international standards.

Handbook
Civil & Political Rights | Civil Society | Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights | Rule of Law | Women's Rights

Found 25 document(s)

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