Men Fleeing Mosul At Risk Of Abuse, Enforced Disappearance, HRW Says
An international human rights monitoring group warned on Thursday (February 2) that men fleeing Mosul are “at heightened risk of abuse” and “enforced disappearance” after being detained by Hashid al-Shaabi fighters, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned of illegal and arbitrary detention of men over suspected links to the Islamic State (ISIS) group by the PMF while screening, due to the “groups’ lack of training in screening, the irregular nature of these screenings and detentions, and the detainees’ lack of contact with the outside world.”
Relatives interviewed by HRW said that their male family members have gone missing after being stopped by the PMF for screening.
“While we cannot know exactly what has happened to the men detained, the lack of transparency, particularly for their families as to their whereabouts, is cause for real concern,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
The screening process of people needs to be conducted only by bodies with a screening mandate, HRW said, calling on Iraqi authorities to hold detainees in “a recognized detention center accessible to independent monitors and granted their due process rights enshrined in international and Iraqi law.”
The detainees need to be brought before an investigative judge within 48 hours of their detention according to Iraqi law, it added.
HRW said on December 18 last year that a militia backed by the Iraqi government executed more than four men on November 29, 2016.
The Hashad al-Jabour militia, members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) was responsible for the execution of the men “without any judicial proceeding,” according to HRW which accused the militia of committing a war crime.