The 51st Session of the Human Rights Council
12 September 2022 - 7 October 2022
Item 3 : Interactive Dialogue with Working Group on enforced disappearances
20 September 2022
Statement of the International Organization for Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD) and Geneva International Centre for Justice
Delivered by Emily Bare
Thank you, President:
I would like to thank the Working Group for its report and commend its activities as being crucial in achieving justice for victims.
As the report highlights, Iraq currently has the highest number of outstanding documented cases of enforced disappearance, standing at 16,427 victims. However, our investigations show that the true number of victims is drastically higher than this.
Although precise figures are difficult to determine, we believe according to our research and contacts in Iraq that the total number of enforced disappearances is between 500,000 and 1,000,000 persons.
Over the past five years, evidence shows that groups have been burying bodies in mass graves, including the Iraqi Hezbollah militia – the same group that is accused of keeping thousands of Iraqis in secret prisons.
Despite the seriousness of these violations, the report failed to identify Iraq as a particular area of concern.
While the report finds that Iraq has no official documentation of violations since 2003, the pervasive practice of enforced disappearance did not just cease at the turn of that new year. Instead, reliable evidence shows that enforced disappearances in Iraq have drastically escalated and perpetrators are consistently given impunity.
EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice strongly urge the Human Rights Council to support the mission of the Working Group in investigating these rampant enforced disappearances in Iraq.