The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (S/2019/280) issued on 29 March 2019.

During 2018, women and girls held in sexual slavery continued to be released from ISIL control. The Kurdistan Regional Government estimates that there are 3,083 Yazidis missing, including 1,427 women and girls. This does not include missing women and girls from other ethnic groups targeted by ISIL, including Turkmen Shia. In camps for internally displaced persons, women and children with perceived affiliation to ISIL or originating from areas that were previously under ISIL control suffer sexual exploitation, restricted movement and a lack of access to services and civil documentation. Such factors, coupled with economic hardship, compound their risk of stigma and further sexual exploitation. Sexual violence remains underreported owing to fear of reprisal, security concerns and mistrust of the legal system.

In March 2018, my Special Representative visited Iraq and, with the Government, launched an implementation plan for the 2016 joint communiqué on prevention of and response to conflict-related sexual violence. The plan supports legislative and policy reforms to: (a) strengthen protection from and response to crimes of sexual violence; (b) facilitate documentation for and the return and reintegration of internally displaced persons; (c) ensure accountability; (d) provide services, livelihood support and reparations for survivors and children born of rape; and (e) engage tribal and religious leaders in the prevention of sexual violence and in facilitating the return and reintegration of survivors. A further goal is to ensure the full consideration of sexual violence by the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism and National Security Advisory Commission, including by enhancing the role of women in counterterrorism efforts. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq assisted in drafting the terms of reference for an interministerial technical group to oversee the implementation of the joint communiqué.

Despite such progress, attention urgently needs to be focused on ensuring criminal accountability and providing assistance to victims, as well as on the consideration of conflict-related sexual violence and the role of women in counterterrorism efforts. In 2018, the Special Adviser of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL was appointed with a mandate, pursuant to Security Council resolution 2379 (2017), to collect, preserve and store evidence of ISIL war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, which include acts of sexual violence. To date, ISIL members have only been prosecuted on terrorism charges, but not for crimes of sexual viol ence. My Special Representative, primarily through the Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict, is supporting the Government’s efforts to prosecute S/2019/280 19-04552 13/35 “pilot cases” of crimes of sexual violence crimes perpetrated by ISIL. In addition, the Iraqi Government launched a special administrative process, managed through mobile teams, as part of a pilot project to facilitate the registration of children born of rape.

Recommendation

I call upon the Government of Iraq to comprehensively address the needs of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, including by upholding the rights of families with actual or imputed ISIL affiliations and ensuring their freedom of movement, access to civil documentation and access to basic services. I further urge the provision of reparations to those affected and an end to impunity through the prosecution of ISIL perpetrators for crimes of sexual violence. I call upon the Government to prosecute cases of sexual violence in accordance with its commitments under the joint communiqué and relevant Security Council resolutions.

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