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Rudaw

Kurdistan

UNAMI calls for end of attacks in Tuz Khurmatu, plans another visit

By Rudaw 13/12/2017
Rudaw video footage shows destruction in Tuz Khurmatu in November.
Rudaw video footage shows destruction in Tuz Khurmatu in November.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A team from the United Nations conducted a mission in Tuz Khurmatu to investigate reports of punitive destruction and reports of intimidation. They are also planning another visit "in the coming days."

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) "calls for an immediate end to acts that threaten the security and the safety of Kurdish and Turkmen communities and their civilian residents."

UNAMI's Human Rights office released a statement late Tuesday of its December 7 mission to the city about 60 kilometers south of Kirkuk.

"This visit has been among others prompted by repeated reports about indiscriminate targeting of civilians, forced evictions and destruction of property," read the statement.


The UNAMI team reported it visited several areas in Tuz and met a number of officials.

"UNAMI officials also have met in Erbil with a number of representatives of Tuz Khurmatu displaced residents and listened to their accounts about the circumstances surrounding the alleged attacks," they added.

The UN body also expressed "concern about the recent repeated indiscriminate mortar attacks which has inflicted losses, including civilian casualties from among the Turkmen community in the town that were followed by a retaliatory action."

Another UNAMI mission to Tuz Khurmatu was planned in the coming days to visit also other areas including those suggested by the displaced residents to further investigate the allegations.

Furthermore, UNAMI calls on the Iraqi government "to deploy all necessary measures that will put an end to any violence and violations of human rights, ensure law and order and establish calm and stability in Tuz Khurmatu, also to facilitate return of IDPs and normal functioning of the city, district and all its communities."

The Iraqi army and mainly Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi is preparing for an operation to clear the Tuz Khurmatu area of armed groups, a Shiite militia commander said on Tuesday. They bombarded Kurdish villages east of Tuz Khurmatu on Tuesday, causing many who had been displaced on October 16 to flee again.

According to the Kurdistan Regional Government, over 150,000 people have been displaced to the Region since October 16 – the day Iraqi forces and Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi militias began their operations to take over disputed areas, including the diverse city of Tuz Khurmatu. 

A group of displaced Kurds from Tuz gathered at the United Nations compound in Erbil on December 5 to protest abuses by militia forces in the city and demand international action. 

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has criticized global inaction on the reported violence in the ethnically diverse Tuz Khurmatu. 

Iraqi President Fuad Masum, on a recent visit to Kirkuk and the Kurdistan Region, pledged to resolve tensions in the city. 

Addressing the UN Security Council on November 22, UN envoy to Iraq Jan Kubis estimated that just 2 percent of those who were displaced have returned to Tuz Khurmatu.

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