The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are listed in the SG’s most recent annual report on children and armed conflict for recruitment and use of children, and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is listed for all five ‘trigger’ violations. In August, the Security Council is expected to receive the SG’s quarterly report on UNAMI, pursuant to SCR 2470 (2019). Thousands of children continue to languish in detention facilities, camps, or orphanages for their or their relatives’ alleged association with ISIL. Many of those in detention are reportedly being held in overcrowded facilities, in unfit conditions that may amount to ill-treatment and collective punishment under international law. Those in camps face restrictions on their freedom of movement, discrimination, lack of access to education and basic services, stigmatization, expropriation and destruction of their properties, and confiscation of legal documents. State security forces, including the PMF, have reportedly entered displacement camps in northern Iraq to question residents about the actions and whereabouts of relatives suspected of ISIL affiliation, which threatens the civilian nature of these camps. In at least one case, security forces were using a school for “screening” purposes, in contravention of international humanitarian principles and the Safe Schools Declaration, which the Government of Iraq has endorsed. About 1.6 million Iraqis remain internally displaced, with current trends suggesting many will remain displaced for the foreseeable future. Displaced children face myriad challenges, including lack of access to quality education, sexual and gender-based violence, and denial of a legal identity. One of the main obstacles to returns is the presence of explosive remnants of war (ERWs) in former ISIL-held territories.

The UN Security Council should:

  • Welcoming ongoing discussions with the United Nations, encourage the Government to swiftly develop and sign an action plan to end and prevent grave violations, including recruitment and use of children by the PMF, as well as to strengthen rehabilitation and reintegration, and enhance juvenile justice;
  • Remind the Government of its commitments under the Safe Schools Declaration, and urge State security forces to refrain from using schools for military purposes;
  • Remind all parties that children should be considered primarily as victims, entitled to full protection of their rights, including due process of law, and urge the Government to develop and prioritize alternatives to detention whenever possible, ensuring the best interests of the child;
  • Call upon the Government and Kurdish regional authorities to allow UNAMI and other relevant independent monitors access to facilities where children are detained;
  • Prioritize demining activities and the removal of ERWs, especially from territories formerly under the control of ISIL, in order to improve conditions for safe, voluntary returns of internally displaced persons; such conditions should include access to all the necessary information about travel routes and destinations, especially availability of schools and primary care services for children.

The United States is the lead country on Iraq.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – August 2019.

UN Action

Year listed: 2009
Action Plans signed: No
Sanctions Committee: Sanctions Committee concerning Iraq
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Iraq: 2015; 2011 
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Iraq: 2016; 2011
UN Mission: UNAMI

Perpetrators listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict

2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Al-Qaida in Iraq (AQ-I)* a, b a a a, b, d a, b, d a,b,d
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)* a, b a, b, d a, b, d a,b,d a,b,c,d a,b,c,d,e a,b,c,d,e
Popular mobilization forces a

a: Parties that recruit and use children
b: Parties that kill and maim children
c: Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children

d: Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals
e: Parties that engage in abduction of children
f: Parties that deny humanitarian access to children

~ This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).
* This party has been in the annexes for at least five years and is therefore considered a persistent perpetrator.