A UN watchdog committee is urging the Iraqi government to take action to stop the practice of enforced disappearances, which has resulted in the abduction and disappearance of up to a million people in the past five decades.
A report issued Tuesday by the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances, a body of independent experts, is based on a visit to Iraq last November. Its authors express “deep concern” that the practice, which has persisted in much of the territory of Iraq since 1968, continues to be widespread.
The experts said the disappearances continue amid the culture of impunity and “revictimization” that still prevails.
The UN committee said hundreds of families are searching for loved ones they suspect are held in camps in Turkey, Syria, or Iran, “where contact with the outside world is impossible.”
Iraq has one of the worst rates of global missing persons, and the UN committee urged Iraq to find the victims and hold those responsible accountable.
The UN committee said the “dimension, scope, and diversity of enforced disappearance in Iraq require urgent and concerted intervention by the government, its regional neighbors, and the international community.”
It urged Iraqi authorities to quickly investigate disappearances and introduce legislation to “prevent, eradicate and repair this heinous crime.”
The UN assessment stated that between 1968 and 2003, Hussein’s “genocidal campaign” in Kurdistan forced the disappearance of up to 290,000 persons, 100,000 of whom were Kurdish.