Iraq

Advocacy

The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s (SG) latest annual report (S/2021/437) on children and armed conflict (CAAC) for recruiting and using children, and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is listed for all five ‘trigger’ violations. In May, UNAMI’s mandate is up for renewal, per SCR 2576 (2021). According to the SG’s February report (S/2022/103), the UN documented the killing of nine boys and injury of 23 boys and two girls between October and December 2021. Children continue to be killed and injured by explosive remnants of war (ERW) and unexploded ordnance, including four children killed and two maimed in a single week in February 2022. In 2021, 52 children were killed and 73 were maimed by ERW and unexploded ordnance, an increase from the previous year. The Security Council should:

  • Call on the Government to strengthen the national child protection framework, including by swiftly adopting and implementing the draft action plan to end and prevent child recruitment and use by the PMF;
  • Urge the Government to intensify efforts to remove administrative barriers hindering the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians, including children, to implement international legal instruments on improvised explosive devices (IEDs), landmines, and other ERW, and to promote mine clearance and mine risk education;
  • Recall that children should be treated primarily as victims, including children formerly or allegedly associated with armed groups designated as terrorist, their reintegration should be prioritized, and detention should only be used as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate time;
  • Call on the Government to endorse the Paris Principles and Commitments, and encourage the development and signing of a handover protocol to facilitate the release of children to child protection actors for reintegration and other support services;
  • Encourage the Government to implement its commitments under the Safe Schools Declaration and take concrete measures to mitigate and avoid military use of schools, pursuant to SCR 2601 (2021), ensuring accountability and redress for attacks on education.

The United States is the lead country on Iraq.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – May 2022.

In January, the SG released his fourth report on the situation of children and armed conflict in Iraq (S/2022/46), covering August 2019 to June 2021. During this period, the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) verified 317 grave violations against 254 children (195 boys, 51 girls, eight unknown sex), a significant decrease from the previous reporting period. Killing and maiming remained the grave violation with the highest number of verified incidents, with 67 percent of child casualties caused by ERW and IEDs. Da’esh (formerly referred to as ISIL) was found responsible for the most violations, followed by Iraqi security forces and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). Very few cases of recruitment and use, rape and sexual violence, and attacks on schools and hospitals were verified. Most incidents of denial of humanitarian access were attributed to Iraqi security forces (52) and PMF (9), many due to bureaucratic restrictions. Of serious concern, 1,091 children were detained on national security-related charges, including alleged association with armed groups, representing a significant increase. The CTFMR also verified the military use of 45 schools, all attributed to the Iraqi Police, Iraqi Army, PMF, and the Peshmerga. The Working Group should:

  • Welcoming the decrease in grave violations committed against children in Iraq, strongly condemn continuing violations and abuses of children’s rights;
  • Call on the Government to strengthen the national child protection framework, including by swiftly adopting and implementing the draft action plan to end and prevent recruitment and use of children by the PMF, adopting the bill on the protection of children in Iraq, and establishing a minimum age of criminal responsibility in line with the principles of the CRC;
  • Urge the Government to intensify efforts to remove administrative barriers hindering the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians, including children; to issue identification documents to allow all children to access public assistance and basic services; to implement international legal instruments on IEDs, landmines, and other ERW; and to promote mine clearance and mine risk education;
  • Recalling that children should be treated primarily as victims, including children formerly or allegedly associated with armed groups designated as terrorist, their reintegration should be prioritized, and detention should only be used as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate time, call on the Government to endorse the Paris Principles and Commitments, and encourage the adoption and implementation of a handover protocol to facilitate the release of children to child protection actors for reintegration and other support services;
  • Encourage the Government to implement its commitments under the Safe Schools Declaration and take concrete measures to mitigate and avoid military use of schools, pursuant to SCR 2601 (2021), ensuring accountability and redress for attacks on education.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – March 2022.

UN Action

Year listed: 2009
Action Plans signed: No
Sanctions Committee: 1518 Sanctions Committee; ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee (Current Chair: Indonesia) 
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Iraq: 2022; 20192015; 2011 
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Iraq: 2020; 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.

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