ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – All recorded cases of abuse and violations which have taken place in the town of Khurmatu, in the south of Kirkuk Province, have been documented in detail and given to the UN office in Iraq, a Kurdish official said on Wednesday.
“The document contains factual data on the ground with all the violations and abuses which have taken place in the area by those forces and militia groups that entered the region following the Oct. 16 attack,” Shakhawan Abdulla, the head of the Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee in the Iraqi Parliament, told Kurdistan 24.
On Oct.16, Iraqi forces along with the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia groups took over Kirkuk Province and other disputed territories, including the town of Khurmatu.
The attack led to the displacement of 180,000 people in the disputed territories, about 70,000 of them from Khurmatu, in fear of abuses and violations by the militia groups.
Since then, Shia militias have burned, looted, and destroyed over 2,450 Kurdish houses and shops, a Diyala Provincial Council Member, Mala Hassan, previously told a local newspaper. International human rights organizations have published similar reports.
Abdulla said the document was given to the UN human rights representative in Baghdad, who has promised an investigation. “Not only our document. A UN delegation visited Khurmatu, but the Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia prevented them from entering the town, especially to the neighborhoods. Huge violations have been committed there,” Abdulla said.
He mentioned that some violations and abuses can be framed as “genocide.”
“We will make sure that the perpetrators will be brought to justice,” he added.
The town is located in the south of Kirkuk, with a diverse ethnic and religious population and a Kurdish majority. Khurmatu is historically claimed to be one of the towns in the Kurdistan Region nearest to the administrative border of the Federal Government of Iraq and is currently under the control of Baghdad.
Recently, hundreds of Khurmatu residents held protests in front of the UN office in Erbil and called on the international community to deploy UN peacekeeping forces into the town to secure the stability of the area.
Editing by C. Douglas