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.

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: 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 Comparative Review of Minority Representation of in Electoral Legislation

Examines provisions in the election laws of Egypt, Jordan, South Africa, and Bosnia and Herzegovina relating to the representation and participation of minorities in the public sphere. Presents an overview of internationally and nationally recognized political rights and examines various electoral systems employed by democracies throughout the world, including Proportional Representation systems, Plurality-Majority systems, and quotas. Specifically examines the representation of women and that of other minorities in the above-named countries.

Legal Memoranda and Analysis
Constitutional Development | Minority Rights | Women's Rights

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 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

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

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