08/03/2019 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Today marks the five-year anniversary of the invasion by the Islamic State into the Nineveh Governorate.
The militants first entered Sinjar, home to the Yazidis, where they killed the men and enslaved the women into sexual slavery. Just a few days later, the extremists moved into Qeraqosh, which was the largest Christian city in Iraq.
ISIS’s genocide against religious minorities was nearly successful. Pre-2002 estimates show that Christians numbered nearly 1.5 million. Post ISIS estimates indicate that less than 250,000 now live in Iraq. Nearly 3,000 Yazidi women remain missing.
Iraq declared ISIS defeated two years ago. Yet, very little progress has been achieved at rebuilding those communities who suffered genocide. Nearly no reconstruction efforts have begun in Sinjar. While the Christian areas have achieved notable reconstruction markers, corruption combined with a lack of security and infrastructure has discouraged many from returning.
In terms of transitional justice, some progress has finally been made through a UNITAD taskforce. Mass graves are being exhumed and methods of dispensing justice towards ISIS militants is under discussion. Yet, the investigation and recommendations have been slow. Meanwhile, other human rights abusers have taken advantage of the absence of law and have taken their place in Nineveh. Many of these are militias, who constantly harass and abuse religious minorities.
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