He was forced to go back to Diyala together with his relatives despite the well-documented pattern of unlawful killings and abductions of Sunni Arabs at the hands of militias there.
Publicly, the Governor of Kirkuk has committed not to return internally displaced people to areas still under IS control or where clashes are ongoing such as Mosul and the surrounding areas. International law and standards dictate that the return of displaced people to their homes must be voluntary.
Amnesty International has documented the repeated forced displacement and destruction of Arab homes and villages by Peshmerga forces, which continue to prevent residents of Arab villages and Arab residents of mixed Arab and Kurdish towns from returning to their homes.
“Instead of flouting international law by arbitrarily uprooting civilians from their homes, the Kurdish and Iraqi authorities should be offering protection to those who have already been displaced or are seeking shelter from the fighting. And they should facilitate the voluntary and safe return of those who wish to return to their homes,” said Lynn Maalouf.
Kirkuk has been under the de facto control of the Kurdistan Regional Government since Iraqi government forces retreated from northern Iraq in June 2014 when IS captured large swathes of the country.
Attempts to forcibly return Sunni Arab internally displaced people and residents pre-date the IS attack on 21 October but have intensified since then.
(Source: Amnesty International)