Amnesty International warned Tuesday that Sunni Muslims fleeing Daesh-held provinces in Iraq face mistreatment, disappearance and extrajudicial execution in "revenge" attacks by Iran-backed militias and Iraqi government forces.
Evidence drawn from hundreds of interviews reveals a "terrifying backlash against civilians" who flee Daesh-held territory and reflects "the risk of mass violations as the military operation to recapture the Daesh-held city of Mosul gets under way," Amnesty said in a report.
"Iraq is currently facing very real and deadly security threats from Daesh, but there can be no justification for extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture or arbitrary detention," said Philip Luther, director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa program.
"As preparations get underway for the battle to retake Mosul, it is crucial that the Iraqi authorities take steps to ensure these appalling abuses do not happen again," Luther said. He urged other nations supporting military action against Daesh forces in Iraq to "demonstrate they will not continue to turn a blind eye to violations."
Amnesty's report is based on interviews with some 470 former detainees, witnesses, activists, officials, and relatives of victims.
It accuses pro-government Shiite militias, known as the Popular Mobilization, and government forces of "serious human rights violations, including war crimes" and thousands of extrajudicial executions of civilians who had fled from Daesh-controlled areas.