After three years of rights violations during Daesh's control of Mosul, the trauma in the war-torn city persists as the devastation that occurred under the rule of Daesh has left many people homeless.
The United Nations estimates that about 920,000 civilians have fled from their Mosul homes since the Iraqi military started an operation to recapture the city from Daesh's control in October. Nearly 700,000 people become internally displaced and began to live in Iraq's 19 humanitarian camps for internally displaced persons.
Amnesty International warned in a report released yesterday that the conflict in Mosul has created a "civilian catastrophe," with the militants carrying out forced displacement, summary killings and using civilians as human shields. The report also detailed violations by Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition.
In a new report, it documented 45 attacks, which killed at least 426 civilians between January and mid-May. "The horrors that the people of Mosul have witnessed and the disregard for human life by all parties to this conflict must not go unpunished. Entire families have been wiped out, many of whom are still buried under the rubble today," said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty's director of research for the Middle East.
U.N. rights Chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein called yesterday for accountability and dialogue to heal the trauma of Mosul. Zeid demanded that offenders be brought to justice and all violations thoroughly probed while also urging Iraq to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).
"The root causes of violence and conflict in Iraq need to be addressed in terms of human rights violations suffered by all communities in the country over several decades. Only then can secure foundations be laid for the lasting peace that the Iraqi people deserve," Zeid said.
Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein highlighted Mosul's fall as the "turning point" in the conflict against Daesh, but warned that the group continues to subject people to "daily horrors" in its remaining strongholds such as Tal Afar west of Mosul and Hawijah north of Baghdad.
On Monday evening, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi came to Mosul for the second day in a row to declare "total victory." Flanked by his senior military leadership at a small base on the edge of the Old City, al-Abadi said, "this great feast day crowned the victories of the fighters and the Iraqis for the past three years." But the Iraqi leader also alluded to the brutality of the conflict, saying the triumph had been achieved "by the blood of our martyrs."
Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, fell to the Daesh terrorist group in 2014 when its militants blitzed across much of northwestern Iraq and subsequently declared a caliphate on the territory held by extremists in Iraq and Syria. Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake Mosul last October and by late January, the eastern half of the city - which is roughly divided by the Tigris into a western and eastern section - was declared liberated. The push into western Mosul began the following month and in June, Iraqi forces started the weeks-long push through the Old City, Mosul's most congested district.