Our network urges the public to help raise awareness on the serious humanitarian crisis in Iraq. Media focus today is mainly on counter terrorism efforts and the humanitarian crisis receives very little coverage despite its severity.
Therefore, our recommended action is to raise awareness and pressure the international community for increased humanitarian aid in Iraq. It is important to talk to your friends, family and colleagues about the dire situation in Iraq and share this on social media. If enough people join this campaign, the humanitarian needs and protection of civilians will be prioritized, saving the lives of millions and pushing for a political solution that ensures the protection of civilians.
To keep Iraq in the public eye please share the graphic below:
The descent of Iraq
The Cradle of civilisations. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Ur, birthplace of Abraham and of the legendary Babel Tower. These are all places situated in today’s Republic of Iraq. Some have even speculated that the Garden of Eden might have been there too. The Sumerians, an ancient Iraqi civilization, were the first to introduce written law, mathematics, astrology, medicine and organized religion. All these incredible feats are part of Iraq’s great cultural heritage and still have an impact on our lives today. Sadly, all what we hear about Iraq today is focused on war, sectarianism and terrorism. There are people there, the descendants of great civilizations that have given so much to the world; we must not forget them, we must help them.
Since the ousting of President Saddam Hussain by US-led coalition in 2003, the country has become extremely volatile and battleground for various competing powers. After the U.S. withdrawal in 2011, the political marginalization of the Sunni leaders led to anti-government protest movement. Protesters demanded end of corruption and greater civil and political rights. According to Amnesty International, the security forces used excessive force killing and injuring protesters. The protests developed into organized militant opposition in the Anbar region and led to the fall of Fallujah and Mosul to IS and affiliated groups in January and June 2014 respectively. The looting of hundreds of millions of dollars from Mosul’s central bank as well as the control of many oil fields and archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria have made IS one of the world’s richest terrorist groups, and through widespread publicity of acts of extreme violence, IS has spread terror. Currently, there are three main factions involved in the current conflict; the Iraqi army (as well as mostly Shi’a armed militias and some Sunni tribes), Islamic State (IS), and the Kurdish military or peshmerga located in the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq.
What is the humanitarian situation like?
More than 12,000 people lost their lives in 2014, making it one of the deadliest years since the 2003 US-led invasion. Violence in Iraq has killed and injured more than 22,000 Iraqis in 2015 and 7700 Iraqis in 2016 (until May). At least 3.2 million people have been displaced in Iraq since January 2014 and today one in three people is in need of humanitarian assistance (10 million people). The humanitarian crisis has been further deteriorated with the influx of refugees escaping the civil war in Syria. Currently, there are over 250,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq. IS today is under increasing pressure from the Iraqi army and allied forces as well as the coalition forces. The extremist group has been engaged in mass killing, destroying historical places and appalling human rights violations. However, other warring factions are also accused of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
Photo credits (top to bottom): Ridaeology / CC BY 2.0, Rachel Unkovic, International Rescue Committee / CC BY 2.0, Map: The World Factbook.
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