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III. Background: Forced Displacement and Arabization of Northern Iraq

The Mass Displacement of the mid-1970s

Since the 1930s, but particularly from the 1970s onwards, successive Iraqi administrations have forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of ethnic Kurds, Turkomans (a Turkish-speaking Iraqi minority), and Assyrians from northern Iraq, and repopulated the area with Arabs moved from central and southern Iraq.2  This policy, known as “Arabization” (ta’rib) was conducted in order to consolidate government control over the valuable oil resources and arable lands located in northern Iraq.  The massive forced displacement of Kurdish families from northern Iraq is not synonymous with Arabization, as armed conflict and the genocidal Anfal campaign of 1988 also accounted for large numbers of displaced Kurds.  But even when Kurds were displaced by armed conflict or the Anfal campaign, the Iraqi government often ensured that their displacement became permanent and brought in Arab settlers to take over their homes.  For the hundreds of thousands of Kurds displaced from their homes by Arabization, armed conflict, and genocide in Iraq, their continued displacement represents a crime that must be redressed.

The first massive wave of forced displacement in northern Iraq followed the 1974 unilateral declaration by the Iraqi government of a Kurdistan Autonomous Region covering the northern governorates of Arbil, Sulaimaniyya, and Dohuk.  The area comprised some 14,000 square miles but included only half of the land area claimed by Iraq’s Kurds, and excluded the oil-rich lands around the city of Kirkuk.  In the wake of the 1974 autonomy decree, the Ba’th Party embarked on the Arabization of the oil-producing areas around Khanaqin, evicting Kurdish farmers and replacing them with Arab tribal families from southern Iraq.  Tens of thousands of villagers from the Barzani tribe were also forcibly removed from their homes following the collapse in 1975 of the Kurdish revolt, led by Mulla Mustafa Barzani.  The villagers were relocated to barren sites in the southern deserts, where they had to rebuild their lives from scratch.  By the late 1970s, the Iraqi government had forcibly evacuated as least a quarter of a million Kurdish men, women, and children from areas bordering Iran and Turkey.  Their villages were destroyed to create a cordon sanitaire along these sensitive frontiers, and the inhabitants relocated to settlements built for that purpose located on the main highways in army-controlled areas of Iraq Kurdistan.3   

The scale of the displacement of Kurds in the north during the mid-1970s was immense, displacing the entire Kurdish population from an area reaching from the town of Khanaqin, close to the Iranian border, to the Syrian and Turkish border areas around Sinjar.  Many Kurdish villages were bulldozed, and new Arab settlements were built nearby.  The bureaucratic nature of the Iraqi state makes it possible to reconstruct the scale of the displacement, as many of the landownership records of the pre-Arabization period still exist.  The decrees passed by the Ba`th government in implementation of its Arabization policy also exist, as do detailed records of the Arab families that were brought to inhabit the vacated areas.  An official of the Agricultural Department in Shaikhan district, located in Mosul governorate (renamed Nineveh by the Iraqi government), listed forty-six originally Kurdish and Yazidi villages that had been Arabized in the 1970s.4 

Tens of thousands of displaced men, women, and children fled into Iran.  Most returned to Iraqi Kurdistan after the establishment of Kurdish self-rule in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, but were unable to return to their original villages located outside Kurdish-controlled areas.  The majority of the displaced Kurdish population were expelled or fled to the Kurdish Autonomous Region, or were resettled in the large-scale “complexes” or “collective villages” built by the Iraqi government.  Others were forcibly settled far away in central and southern Iraq, often in majority Sunni towns that formed the backbone of support for Ba`th Party rule. When Human Rights Watch researchers visited the Sunni towns of al-Ramadi and al-Falluja in April and May 2003 respectively, they found entire neighborhoods of desperately poor Kurds who had been forcefully displaced from their homes in the north since the mid-1970s, and had never been allowed to return home.

The 1988 Anfal Campaign

During the 1980-88 war between Iraq and Iran, the Kurdish Peshmerga reconstituted itself, with backing from Iran. Towards the end of the Iran-Iraq war, from February 23 until September 6, 1988, the Iraqi government launched its Anfal campaign against the Kurds, under the direction of ‘Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam Hussein who earned the nickname “Chemical Ali” for his use of chemical weapons against Kurds in northern Iraq.  The Anfal campaign reached genocidal proportions, resulting in the “disappearance” of some 100,000 Kurds, whose bodies are now being recovered in mass graves located across Iraq.  During the Anfal campaign, the Iraqi government destroyed between 3,000 and 4,000 Kurdish villages and towns, displacing hundreds of thousands of Kurds.  Some of the displaced Kurds were settled in army-guarded “collective settlements,” while others were deported to southern Iraq or fled to neighboring states, notably Iran.  The Anfal operation devastated Iraqi Kurdistan, leaving the entire region in ruin and a large proportion of the population displaced.

The genocidal nature of the Anfal campaign made it drastically different from the earlier and later Arabization campaigns.  However, for the displaced Kurds, the impact of the Anfal campaign was similar.  After the 1991 Gulf War (see below), Kurdish villagers displaced during the Anfal campaign were able to return to many destroyed villages that were within the zone controlled by Kurdish forces.  However, some villages destroyed during the Anfal fell outside that zone – for example parts of Makhmour district – and displaced Kurds were unable to return to those areas.

The Repopulation of the North with Arab Tribes

The methods used by the Iraqi government to effect the forced displacements of the 1970s and 1980s involved first and foremost military force and intimidation: entire Kurdish villages were completely depopulated and bulldozed by Iraqi forces.  But the Iraqi government followed up the brutality with legal decrees aimed at consolidating the displacement.  First, the property deeds of the displaced Kurds were invalidated by legal decree, most frequently without compensation or with nominal compensation.  The Iraqi government nationalized the agricultural lands, making them the property of the Iraqi state.

The Iraqi government simultaneously embarked on a massive campaign to resettle the formerly Kurdish areas with Arab farmers and their families, thus completing the Arabization process.   The Iraqi government did not have to look far for eager recruits for its Arabization campaign: located southwest of Mosul was the large al-Jazeera desert, home to hundreds of thousands of loyalist nomadic Sunni Arab tribesmen.  Enticed with free, irrigated land, and encouraged by their tribal shaikhs, the al-Jazeera tribesmen abandoned their hard lives in the desert and moved north en masse. 

One elderly Arab tribesman from the al-Hadidi tribe recounted how his family and other tribesmen had moved north in late 1974 to be resettled in an emptied Kurdish village:

We went to Hin Djok at the end of 1974, October or November.  Before this, we used to live like shepherds with our sheep, south of Mosul.  We had no lands, and we used to take our sheep [grazing in the desert.]  In 1974, the government came and asked if we wanted lands in the north.  We were very grateful and voluntarily went to the north. … We built our own houses, all of our families built new houses, and we also dug water wells.  Each farmer got sixty dunums5 of irrigated land.6

Another elderly Arab tribesman from the al-Hadidi tribe explained how forty-seven families from his tribe went to the Kurdish village of Khani Siddiq in 1975:

We went to Khani Siddiq in 1975.  Before, we were living from place to place in the al-Jazeera desert, in our tents.  We owned no land.  The government came to us and said they would take us to villages in the north.  The government kicked out the Kurds and gave them compensation, and then brought us.  The government didn’t force us to go to the north.  They came and asked us if we had lands and we said no.  They said that if anyone wanted to the north, they would take us.  We were very happy to go to the north because we had no irrigated lands in the south.

There were little houses in the village.  We reconstructed those houses and built some new ones.  They gave us sixty dunums each, but this was different in each village.7

The process by which Arabs came to the north was remarkably similar throughout the vast region the Iraqi government repopulated with Arabs, stretching from Khanaqin near the Iranian border to Sinjar near the Syrian border.  ‘Alaiwi Sanur Hamid al-Sayeh, an elderly Arab farmer who moved with about thirty Arab families to the village of Suhaila near the Syrian border in 1974, described his move in nearly identical terms to the version given by the al-Hadidi tribesmen above, who settled in Shaikhan district hundreds of miles away:

We came to Suhaila in 1974.  We came from Salahuddin governorate, from the al-Jazeera desert.  The government and the Ba`th moved us from al-Jazeera to this village.  The government came to us, and announced that there were lands in these villages, and if we wanted to register [for land], we could.  We registered, and one day they brought vehicles to transport us.  Before this, we were living like bedouin in tents.  They assigned each farmer 100 dunums.8

The shaikhs of the Arab tribes of the al-Jazeera desert—the area from which the largest number of Arab settlers came—confirmed this version of events in interviews with Human Rights Watch.  According to Shaikh Nawwaf Hawwaz al-‘Atmi al-Shummari, a leader of the al-Shummar tribe in the north, Iraqi government representatives came to the al-Jazeera desert in 1974, asking them to move north: “The government came to us and told us to go live there [in the north], saying they would give us some land, just to protect the oil fields.  We went to live in seven villages, each with 100 to 150 families.”9  Shaikh Mustafa Ahmad al-Warsan, the head of the large al-Hadidi tribe that settled dozens of Kurdish villages in the north, gave a similar explanation:

Prior to the 1970s, the Arabs of our tribes used to live in the al-Jazeera desert, and none of them used to own any land.  Or they lived in villages that belonged to other people and worked their land [as sharecroppers].  The people who lived in the al-Jazeera desert lived in temporary settlements [i.e. tents] because there was no water there, so their life depended on the rain.  The land in the al-Jazeera doesn’t belong to anyone [individually], so some people used 500 dunums, others 1,000 dunums. …

The government announced [in the mid-1970s] to all the tribes in the al-Jazeera that there were irrigated lands in the north.  Most of the people went north because of these lands.  It was different from village to village—some farmers received twenty dunums, others thirty.  This depended on the size of the village and the number of people who went to the village. …

The agreement they gave us was that we had rental contracts with the government.  Each farmer had a contract and we used to pay a rent rate every year.  This contract was renewed annually.10

Shaikh Mustafa made a point of crucial relevance to the resolution of the property disputes in the north, namely that the majority of Arabs who came to the north to resettle rural villages were not given title to the land they farmed, but rather worked under annual rental contracts.  While the rights of these Arab farmers, who built their homes on the land and often lived there for decades, should not be minimized, at the same time it is of legal relevance that most Arabs were never made the actual owners of the land taken from the Kurds—a situation different from the urban Arabization of Kirkuk, where the Arabs who came to the area were given full title to the land.

Human Rights Watch interviewed dozens of Arab families and Arab tribal leaders who ventured to the north under the Arabization campaign, and the majority of those interviewed clearly stated that they had come to the north by choice, after being offered lucrative irrigated land by the government.  Some stressed, however, that their desperate economic situation in the al-Jazeera desert gave them little choice.  Shaikh Hamdi Idbis Hussain, head of the al-Luhaib tribe, explained why he decided to accept a government offer to settle formerly Kurdish villages in the Makhmour district in the mid-1990’s: “We went there because the members of my tribe are very poor and had no land.  Most of them used to live on just one meal a day.”11  An Arab farmer who had resettled from the al-Jazeera desert to the village of Shamarash in Shaikhan district stressed that he had little choice in the move: “We moved because there was an order from the government to move to this village.  Whether I was happy or unhappy, I had to obey that order.  During the last regime, if the government gave an order to the people to do something, they had to obey.”12

While the majority of Sunni Arabs from the al-Jazeera desert appear to have moved to the north either voluntarily or with minimal coercion, a small number of Shi`a tribes who were moved to the north appear to have come under much greater pressure to do so.  For example, the government in 1975 ordered some 150 families from the Shi`a al-Shuraifi tribe to leave their ancestral home in al-Nassiriyya and to resettle in Khanaqin.  Their ancestral lands were then given away to other tribes, and they were registered as residents of Khanaqin.  The al-Shuraifi leadership claims they were moved against their will and lost their ancestral lands because they refused to join the Ba`th Party and were suspected of being sympathetic to the outlawed Islamic Da’wa and Iraqi Communist parties.13 

Another Shi`a tribe from the south, the Albu Mahmoud tribe from Kut, also claimed to have been similarly forced to resettle in Khanaqin in 1975: “We were displaced by the government in 1975 to Khanaqin, because they wanted to take us to the Kurdish areas.  We were forced to go to the north: They displaced us to replace the Kurds.”14  A third Shi`a tribe, the al-Fahd from Kut, also claimed to have been forced to go north, “because of the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds.”15  Altogether, Human Rights Watch found about 450 Shi`a families who claimed to have been forcefully resettled by the Iraqi government to Khanaqin.  Following the March 2003 war, they were evicted by the original Kurdish owners and were living in abandoned government buildings when Human Rights Watch met them.

The 1991 Gulf War and its Aftermath

The 1991 Gulf War between Iraq and the U.S.-led coalition that ousted Iraqi forces from Kuwait was followed by large-scale uprisings against the government of Saddam Hussein among the Shi`a in the south and the Kurds in the north.  Kurdish guerillas, profiting from the disorder of the Iraqi army that was still reeling from a devastating defeat in Kuwait, briefly occupied nearly all of the areas they considered historically Kurdish, including Kirkuk.  Some vengeance killings took place as the population acted out its anger against those associated with the Iraqi government, killing Ba`th Party officials, local bureaucrats, and intelligence agents, but such killings were more widespread in the south.16 

The U.S. did not come to the support of the uprisings, and the Iraqi government was able to reorganize loyalists within the army. With the support of Ba`th Party cadre and supportive tribal allies the government soon mounted a counter-offensive and quickly crushed the uprisings, killing thousands of civilians using indiscriminate force, and rounding up tens of thousands more and executing them.  In response to atrocities committed by the Iraqi troops, the U.S., Britain, and France unilaterally declared a “no-fly zone” over northern Iraq that would remain in place until the fall of the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein.  In October 1991, the Iraqi government withdrew its military forces and civilian administrators from the northern governorates of Dohuk, Sulaimaniyya, and Arbil, granting de facto autonomy to the Kurds in the area.  The Kurds established their own administration, an uneasy alliance between the two main Kurdish political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Mas’ud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by Jalal Talabani, as well as a number of other smaller political parties.  The withdrawal of Iraqi troops from the northern governorates allowed a significant number of Kurds to return there, although many continued to be displaced from their original homes and lived in dismal IDP camps.

The establishment of Kurdish control over the three northern governorates also led to the expulsion of a significant number of Arabs who had settled some of the land during the Arabization campaign and which were now under Kurdish control.  Many of the Arabs displaced from such areas remained landless for several years until the Iraqi government settled them on other lands seized from the Kurds later in the 1990s.  For example, the al-Fahd tribe was originally resettled in 1975 from the southern town of Kut to agricultural land located near Qara Tapa in Sulaimaniyya governorate.  They were displaced in 1991: “During the war in 1991, the Kurds came and took our land and houses and we were evicted from the area.” 17  The tribe then led a landless existence until they were again resettled near Khanaqin in 1997, only to be evicted again during the 2003 conflict.

Following the 1991 uprisings, the Iraqi government’s crackdown led to further displacement of Kurds and other minorities in the north.  During the crackdown, as many as between one and two million northerners, most of them Kurds, fled to Iran, Turkey, or the mountainous areas still under Kurdish control.18  Some Kurdish neighborhoods in Kirkuk were leveled during the crackdown, and the Iraqi government actively resisted the return of Kurds and other minorities to the city of Kirkuk, even refusing the United Nations permission to monitor returns of ethnic minorities to Kirkuk.19

The Arabization of the Kirkuk Region

Following the failed 1991 uprisings, the Iraqi government focused its Arabization efforts on the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and its surrounding area.  Kurds, Turkomans, and Assyrians came under constant pressure to sign “ethnic identity correction” forms relinquishing their ethnicity and registering officially as Arabs.20  Non-Arabs were also required to become members of the Ba`th Party, and to serve in “volunteer” militias such as Jaysh al-Quds (Jerusalem Army) or the Fida’iyyi Saddam (Saddam’s Martyrs, often referred to in Western media as the Fedayeen).  Families that refused to comply were issued formal expulsion orders requiring them to leave their homes and move to Kurdish-controlled areas.  The government of Iraq displaced approximately 120,000 persons from Kirkuk and other areas under government control from 1991 to 2000 in furtherance of its Arabization campaign.21  Arab families were given financial incentives to move north, and the Iraqi government embarked on housing construction projects to bring more Arab families north in order to change the demographic make-up of the north.

The decades of state persecution of Kurds and the repeated forced displacement in the north have created a massive caseload of IDPs in the northern governorates, including many who have been displaced multiple times.  A 1998 study conducted by the United Nations Center for Human Settlements (UN-Habitat) estimated that nearly one million of the three million people living in northern Iraq had been displaced at one time or another, a caseload that includes the estimated 100,000 persons displaced from factional Kurdish in-fighting in the mid-1990s.22

In 2001, UN-Habitat released a more detailed study that showed just how permanent much of the forced displacement by the Iraqi government had been.  The study counted a total of 805,505 displaced persons in the three northern governorates controlled by Kurdish forces.  The majority, or 446,000 displaced, continued to live in the “collective towns” constructed by the Iraqi government during the forced displacement campaigns of the 1970s and the 1988 Anfal campaign.23  An undetermined number of families are headed by women: the Habitat report notes that in some areas, notably in Duhok governorate, “the ‘widows’ factor is extremely high.”24  If the number of persons displaced by inter-Kurdish fighting in the mid-90’s (estimated at 100,000 to 110,000) is excluded from the UN-Habitat estimate, it appears that some 700,000 persons continued to live in displacement in the north as a direct result of the Iraqi government’s forced displacement policies that continued for nearly three decades.

The Legal Framework of Arabization

While violence and coercion formed the basis of the Iraqi government’s Arabization campaign, the government also used legal means to dispossess non-Arabs in the north, and to give their lands and property to Arab settlers.  Understanding this legal framework is crucial to resolving the property disputes that are occurring now in northern Iraq, following the overthrow of the former government.

Among the first steps taken by the Ba`th Party when it came to power in 1968 was a major land reform campaign aimed at further eroding the power of the landlords who had controlled much of the agricultural land in the country, often owning hundreds of thousands of dunums of land.  Their economic base had already been broken ten years earlier as a result of agricultural reforms implemented by the government of ‘Abd al-Karim Qassim upon the overthrow of the Iraqi monarchy in 1958.  The Qassim government promulgated the Agrarian Reform Act (Law No. 30 of 1958), limiting the maximum amount of land any individual could own to 2,000 dunums25 and expropriating all lands in excess of this limit.  The financial compensation paid for expropriated land was nominal, and many landowners received none.  When the Ba`th Party came to power, it cancelled all preceding laws, thus voiding the 1958 law and issued even more far-reaching reforms. The Ba`th’s Agrarian Reform Act (Law No. 117 of 1970) limited individual ownership to a maximum of 1,000 dunums of rainfall-dependent lands, and abolished compensation payments.  While these laws were implemented without discrimination throughout Iraq, they also dispossessed many large landowners in the north, Iraq’s richest agricultural zone.  Subsequently, individual ownership of the same type of land in the Kurdish north was further limited to 300 dunums.26

When the government began mass expulsions of non-Arabs in the north during the mid-1970s, the vast majority of the expelled farmers had property rights to the land they lost, rights which had been confirmed through a process known as taswiya (literally, ‘settlement’).27  According to Najib Fa’iq Ahmad, who has headed the legal office and the expropriations department of the Kirkuk agriculture office for more than a decade: “All of the inhabitants of these districts had taswiya property deeds, dating back to the Ottoman period.  Mr. Lyon, a British official, confirmed those deeds in 1936 [during the period of British rule].  Their rights were absolute under taswiya: they could sell the land, and after the landowner died, the land was split between his children…. The taswiya deeds were kept in the property registration department—and they are still there.”28

Following the mass expulsions of minorities in the mid-1970s, the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) issued a series of orders, expropriating the land left empty.  For example, Order 369 of 1976 expropriated the land of hundreds of villages in sixty districts surrounding Kirkuk.  The government supposedly paid nominal compensation for these lands, at the rate of six Iraqi dinars per dunum, but almost no displaced Kurds or Turkomans were able to claim even this compensation, as it required going to inaccessible government offices: “No one came to claim their compensation because either they didn’t know or they had been expelled.” Najib Fa’iq Ahmad explained, “so after fifteen years the money went back to the government.”29  Similar laws and orders allowed the government to freely seize and convert land in the north to government-owned land.

Once the land was nationalized, the government then rented the land to newly arrived Arab farmers at nominal rates, under annual, renewable contracts issued by district agricultural departments.  At most of the agricultural departments visited by Human Rights Watch, the agricultural contracts were still on file, making it possible to determine exactly the number and names of families living in each Arabized village in the north.

[2] For a historic overview of Iraq’s Arabization policies, see Noori Talabany, Iraq’s Policy of Ethnic Cleansing: Onslaught to Change National/Demographic Characteristics of the Kirkuk Region (1999), available at

[3] Human Rights Watch, Iraq’s Crime of Genocide: The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds, New Haven and London, 1995.

[4] Human Rights Watch interview with Haji Muhammad Ya’qub Hussain, assistant to the director of the Agriculture Department of Shaikhan, June 10, 2003. 

[5] The dunum is a Middle Eastern unit used for measuring land areas, dating back to the Ottoman period.  The actual size of a dunum varies among Middle Eastern countries.  An Iraqi dunum is equivalent to 2,500 square meters.

[6] Human Rights Watch interview with Sulaiman Muhammad Ibrahim al-Hadidi, June 6, 2003.

[7] Human Rights Watch interview with Muhammad Hassan ‘Alawi al-Hadidi, June 7, 2003.

[8] Human Rights Watch interview with AlaiwiSanur Hamid al-Sayeh, June 21, 2003.

[9] Human Rights Watch interview with Shaikh Nawwaf Hawwaz al-‘Atmi al-Shummari, June 7, 2003.

[10] Human Rights Watch Shaikh Mustafa Ahmad al-Warsan, June 8, 2003.

[11] Human Rights Watch interview with Shaikh Hamdi Idbis Hussain, June 7, 2003.

[12] Human Rights Watch interview with ‘Ali Dabas Ibrahim al-Hadidi, June 6, 2003.

[13] Human Rights Watch interview with Shaikh ‘Ali ‘Aziz al-Shuraifi, May 11, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with Muhsin Murshid Shulfat, May 9, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with Karim Khudair Buwajid, May 9, 2003.

[14] Human Rights Watch interview with Sayyid Bashir Saleh Taher, May 11, 2003.

[15] Human Rights Watch interview with ‘Ali  Tajir, May 10, 2003.

[16] Human Rights Watch, “Endless Torment: The 1991 Uprising in Iraq and Its Aftermath” (New York: Human Rights Watch, June 1992), p. 45-56.

[17] Human Rights Watch interview with ‘Ali  Tajir, Ba’quba, May 10, 2003.

[18] Chris Dammers, “Iraq” in Janie Hampton (ed.), Internally Displaced People: A Global Survey (London: Earthscan Publications, 1998), pp. 180-85.  Dammers estimates that some 140,000 Kurds displaced by the 1991 uprising and government crackdown never returned home.

[19] Sarah-Graham-Brown, Sanctioning Saddam: The Politics of Intervention in Iraq (London & New York: I.B. Taurus, 1999), p. 40.

[20] Tashih al-qawmiyya has frequently been referred to as “nationality correction” but “ethnic identity correction” is more accurate. 

[21] See Human Rights Watch, Iraq: Forcible Expulsion of Ethnic Minorities (New York: Human Rights Watch, March 2003).  See also, The Iraq Foundation, “Ethnic Cleansing in Kirkuk,” January 26, 2001, (concluding that “the deportation of Kurds and Turkomans from areas under government control, and particularly from the Kirkuk governorate, has left over 100,000 people from northern areas homeless and destitute.”); UNHCR/ACCORD, 6th European Country of Origin Information Seminar, November 14, 2000, p. 57 (stating that “an estimated 100,000 people…were deported from government-controlled areas, especially from Kirkuk, Khanaqin, and Mosul.  They were sent to Northern Iraq for several reasons, yet the majority of them were accused of having affiliations with the opposition parties in the north or abroad.  Being a Kurd or Turkmen also sufficed as a reason.”).

[22] U.S. Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey 2000, “Iraq Country Report,” (Washington, D.C.: USCR, 2000).  The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that between 100,000 and 110,000 persons were displaced by fighting between the PUK and KDP in the mid-90s.  See UNHCR/ACCORD, 6th European Country of Origin Information Seminar, November 14, 2000.

[23] United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS-Habitat), Habitat IDP Survey, IDP Site and Family Survey, Final Report, January 2001.

[24] Ibid., p.7.

[25] This applied to rainfall-dependent agricultural land.

[26] The Ba`th government also promulgated other legislation which resulted in the expropriation of agricultural land as well as other kinds of landed property.

[27] Taswiya was an administrative procedure dating back to the Iraqi monarchy, which established a Settlement Department (Da’irat al-Taswiya).  Its purpose was to examine individual plots of land across Iraq in order to verify legal ownership and to delineate their boundaries.  As a result of the process, landowners who possessed property deeds – many dating back to the Ottoman Empire – had their legal ownership reconfirmed.  The process was near completion when the monarchy was overthrown in 1958.

[28] Human Rights Watch interview with Najib Fa’iq Ahmad, Kirkuk, September 10, 2003.

[29] Ibid.

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