• Iraq’s human rights situation has worsened since January 2014, when armed clashes between government and insurgent forces enveloped the mostly Sunni Anbar province. The crisis deteriorated further in June, when an array of Sunni armed groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), launched a major offensive, taking control of the cities of Mosul and Tikrit as well as other areas. By July the violence had displaced more than one million Iraqis, according to UN figures. Serious violations by ISIS have included abductions and mass executions, and persecution of Iraq’s ethnic and religious communities. The government has also committed serious abuses, including mass executions of Sunni prisoners, and kidnappings and summary executions by security forces and government-backed Shia militias. The government in June issued new media guidelines that violate Iraq’s obligation to protect free expression. Both ISIS and government-aligned Shia militias are apparently using children under 18 in their forces.
  • Military vehicles pass as Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters man a checkpoint north of Mount Sinjar, Iraq on December 20, 2014.
    Iraqi Kurdish forces have confined thousands of Arabs in “security zones” in areas of northern Iraq that they have captured since August 2014 from the extremist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Kurdish forces for months barred Arabs displaced by fighting from returning to their homes in portions of Ninewa and Erbil provinces, while permitting Kurds to return to those areas and even to move into homes of Arabs who fled.

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