The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances will visit Iraq from 12 to 24 November to identify means to tackle enforced disappearances in compliance with its mandate under article 33 of the Convention for the Protection of all Persons against Enforced Disappearances.
Iraq accepted this visit in November 2021. The three CED member delegation, accompanied by the CED Secretariat, will travel to Anbar, Baghdad, Erbil, and Mosul to meet victims, civil society organizations, international organizations, as well as national and human rights institutions.
The CED members will also hold discussions with government officials, including those in charge of investigating and preventing enforced disappearances, those who work to locate disappeared people, and those responsible for establishing and implementing related public policies.
The experts will also attend exhumations by the authorities. In addition, the delegation will visit places of deprivation of liberty such as prisons and detention centres to examine how their registration systems function, the registration of persons deprived of their liberty being an essential means to prevent enforced disappearances.
“The Committee welcomes Iraq’s agreement for this visit,” said Carmen Rosa Villa, the head of the CED delegation. “It shows the State party’s willingness to work with us. Such collaboration is vital for all countries to ensure progress in how the Convention for the Protection of all Persons against Enforced Disappearances is applied.”
“According to available information, Iraqi authorities estimate that the number of persons disappeared during decades of conflict and human rights abuses could be anywhere between 250,000 and more than a million. These figures include those disappeared in the context of the Ba’ath regime, during wars and tribal conflicts and at the hands of Da’esh, and the enforced disappearances that are those perpetrated by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State,” she said.
“Our direct engagement with State authorities, victims, civil society organizations, and human rights institutions is key to identifying ways to eradicate and prevent enforced disappearances. We are convinced of the absolute necessity to work together to this end,” she added.
At the end of their visit, the delegation will share their preliminary observations with the Government of Iraq and issue a press statement.
The Committee will publish a full public report in March next year containing its conclusions and recommendations.
The CED delegation will be composed of Carmen Rosa Villa Quintana, Chair of the Committee and Head of Delegation, Barbara Lochbihler, Vice Chair of the Committee, and Mohammed Ayat, Vice Chair of the Committee.