Washington, Aug 11 (FN Representative) Iraq troops illegally forced 91 families to leave their homes in a northern Iraqi village for a displacement camp, years after those same families fled the Islamic State terror group (banned in Russia) and were later forced to return, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday. The families from al-Aetha had been forced out of their village years earlier during fighting between the government and the Islamic State. Many had previously been forcibly evicted by local and security authorities from displacement camps and made to return to their village, Human Rights Watch said in a report.
“For years Iraqi authorities have claimed they are moving communities into or out of camps for their own protection or best interests,” Human Rights Watch Senior Conflict Researcher Belkis Wille said in the report. “But the case of these villagers being ping-ponged between their village and displacement camps is yet again proof that these evictions are often about the authorities’ personal or political considerations rather than the well-being of those affected.”
On July 14, about two dozen Iraqi army vehicles arrived in the village with a list of names and forced about 19 families out of their homes and onto flatbed trucks, including four interviewed by the Human Rights Watch. The soldiers told the villagers they were taking them to the one displacement camp still open – in Nineveh, 15 kilometers north – but gave them no reason. Between July 31 and August 4, the army returned and took another 72 families to the camp, including two of the people interviewed, the report said. The evicted villagers claimed they were victims of an apparent family feud involving a government minister, the report added.