Kurdish authorities bulldoze homes and banish hundreds of Arabs from Kirkuk
Kurdish authorities have carried out a wave of attacks, demolishing the homes and driving out hundreds of Arabs from Kirkuk, as apparent revenge for an attack carried out by the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) on 21 October, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today.
The briefing, ‘Where are we supposed to go?’: Destruction and forced displacement in Kirkuk, highlights how hundreds of Sunni Arab residents, including many who fled fighting and insecurity in nearby governorates, have been expelled from Kirkuk. Many have been ordered to return to their places of origin or have been confined to camps after being suspected of assisting IS to co-ordinate the attack.
“The authorities in Kirkuk are undeniably facing a serious security threat, but that cannot justify bulldozing people’s homes and forcibly displacing hundreds of Arab residents. Many of those affected are people who have already been forced to leave their homes because of the violence engulfing the country. Now they are being forcibly displaced or made homeless yet again,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office.
In the aftermath of the surprise IS attack on eight different locations across Kirkuk on 21 October, many said they were ordered to leave the area and had their identity cards confiscated. Among those affected are an estimated 250 families who had previously been displaced from other governorates of Iraq and had sought safety and shelter in Kirkuk.
At least 190 families were also forcibly displaced by Kurdish Peshmerga and Asayish forces from the Qotan and Qoshkaya villages in the Dibis district of Kirkuk governorate. Most were moved to camps for internally displaced people or sought shelter with relatives in nearby villages. IS forces had attacked a power station in Dibis on 21 October killing 12 guards and employees.
“Forcibly evicting and displacing Sunni Arab residents of Kirkuk is unlawful and cruel. Kurdish authorities must immediately put an end to unlawful destruction of civilian property and forced displacement,” said Lynn Maalouf.