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10/14/2020 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has released a statement announcing a Covenant of Honour which would encourage the return of 1,100 families perceived to be affiliated with ISIS to return home to Mosul. The covenant was signed at a conference sponsored by the Governor of Nineveh. UNDP has a target of reintegrating 4,000 families perceived to be affiliated with ISIS in four locations within a one year period. This program is pursued with the support of the governments of Denmark and Germany.

There was nothing in the statement shared by UNDP describing how these families were evaluated, but the wording suggests that the perception of ISIS-affiliation does not match the reality. Genocide destroys community trust, and that has indeed been in the case in Nineveh, where most of ISIS’ victims are from. Many victims remember how their home communities never said anything or made any intervention when ISIS first swept into Nineveh. On the contrary, particularly in the context of Mosul, many remember the community initially supporting ISIS. They often see no difference between their neighbor who stood complacently by observing ISIS committing genocide, and an ISIS militant.

The authorities encouraging the return of 1,100 families whom the victims believe are indeed ISIS is a difficult situation that on face-value, does little to encourage confidence that justice is being applied. Hopefully, follow-up statements and broader messaging can bring the added element of showing how these families were evaluated to determine whether or not they had any role in the ISIS genocide.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]