Displaced Kurdish Civilians Protest outside UN Headquarters in Erbil

Displaced Kurdish Civilians Protest outside UN Headquarters in Erbil

 A number of people displaced from Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu gathered on Tuesday (December 5) outside headquarters of the United Nations in Erbil calling on agencies to recognize alleged “war crimes” committed after military standoff between Iraqi and Kurdish forces in their regions.

Protesters read a statement to a press conference saying that over 70,000 people were displaced and dozens of civilians’ houses were looted and destroyed in Tuz Khurmatu because of Iraq’s takeover on October 16.

Protesters accused Shiite Turkmen militia members of responsibility for committing acts of discrimination and violence against Kurdish civilians in the area.

They called on the UN to form a committee to investigate the incidents that have occurred since October 16 and compensate those who have fallen victim.

“We demand the UN to arrange an unbiased force to provide protection for civilians, especially the Kurds, in Tuz Khurmatu,” the statement by protesters read.

Protesters held placards read “Hashid al-Shaabi is accused of these crimes against Kurds, killing, pillaging, and occupying.”

Others were holding banners depicting photographs of their belongings and houses looted and torched.

Citing reports it received, the UN said they were aware of and against the violence that occurred in the neighborhoods mainly populated by Kurdish and Turkmen in Kirkuk and other disputed areas. They condemned the looting of houses, businesses and political offices, and forced displacement of civilians had taken place against civilians.

“The United Nations urged the Government of Iraq to take every action to halt any violations and ensure that all civilians are protected and that the perpetrators of acts of violence, intimidation and forced displacement of civilians be brought to justice.”

Amnesty International reported that satellite images, videos, photos and dozens of testimonies collected showed that civilians were forced to flee their homes after fierce clashes erupted between Iraqi government forces, supported by the Popular Mobilization Units, and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq’s multi-ethnic city of Tuz Khurmatu on 16 October 2017.