ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Iraqi security forces have forcibly relocated at least 170 families suspected of being affiliated with Islamic State (IS) militants to a secure “rehabilitation camp” near Mosul, reported Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday.
On July 9, authorities in Ninevah opened the first “rehabilitation camp” in Bartella under a directive to give “psychological and ideological rehabilitation” to IS families. Most of the people being forcibly displaced and detained are women and children from areas of west Mosul.
“Iraqi authorities shouldn’t punish entire families because of their relatives’ actions,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “These abusive acts are war crimes and are sabotaging efforts to promote reconciliation in areas retaken from ISIS.”
There is a low burden of proof as residents of the camp claim police were holding them against their will based only on accusations that they had "relatives linked to IS."
HRW said Nineveh officials expect to relocate some 2,800 families suspected of having ties to the jihadist group and that the Bartella camp is “the first of many” to come.
The report also claimed local authorities in Hamam al-Alil, Qayyara, and Mosul were demanding families that allegedly have ties to IS be evicted from the area. Some families have already received threats and been the target of revenge attacks.
Thousands of civilians have been killed, and nearly a million people have been displaced since the Mosul offensive began in October 2016, and humanitarian groups have warned that the road to full recovery will be “fraught with challenges.”