ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Authorities in Iraq are allegedly preparing to isolate a group of displaced Iraqis who are set to be transferred from the al-Hol camp in Syria to the Jadah 5 camp located in southern Mosul, an international human rights organization said on Saturday.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), authorities at the Iraqi camp have relocated up to 175 families who live in a sector known as “400,” because of the number of tents, to another part of the camp as they prepare to receive the displaced families from Syria. The 400 sector will allegedly be used to isolate the group coming from Syria from the rest of the camp’s population, HRW said.
HRW visited the Jadah 5 camp last week and reported that a fence was being built around 400 to secure it for the new arrivals.
Lama Fakih, the acting Middle East director at HRW, said the arbitrary detention of returnees because of baseless assumptions of affiliation to the so-called Islamic State is a “violation of Iraqi and international law.”
“Segregating families, mainly women, and children coming from Syria is a step toward stigmatizing and labeling them in the absence of any credible allegation that they have committed a crime,” Fakih said in the HRW report.
During its visit to Jadah 5, the human rights organization spoke to some of the families who had been asked to move from sector 400. The families relayed warnings from camp officials who advised them that the newcomers “have the same extremist ideology” as the Islamic State.
The families, who can move freely, were also cautioned that if they did not agree to relocate, the sector would “become like a prison and you will need permission to come in and out.”
The al-Hol camp in northeast Syria currently holds 30,000 Iraqis, a majority of them women and children. Some had fled from the Islamic State in Iraq while others lived under the terror group’s rule in Syria until its military defeat in March 2019.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany