Committee urges Iraq to reveal the fate of Salam Al Boumahidi and Hazim Al Ezzawi who have been missing for 5 years
On 19 December 2022 Iraq was urged by the UN Committee against Enforced Disappearances (CED) to reveal the fate of Salam Al Boumahidi and Hazim Al Ezzawi, Iraqi citizens who disappeared during 2014 following their abduction by the Iraqi army.
The UN Committee, responsible for monitoring the implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance ratified by Iraq in 2010, regularly calls on the State party to cooperate in the due process.
Abducted by the army in the course of 2014
Salam Al Boumahidi was arrested on 28 August 2014 by several members of the "Saraya al-Salam" militia -affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Units (“Al hachd achaabi”) an umbrella organization composed of 67 militias currently integrated into the Iraqi army- who broke into his home. After his arrest, he was taken to an unknown location.
As for Hazim Al Ezzawi, he was arrested at his home on 5 July 2014, at 2:00 a.m. by hooded soldiers who forced him into a military vehicle while one of the officers threatened his wife with reprisals in case, she tried to follow them.
Since their abductions, neither of the two victims has ever reappeared despite the steps taken by their families to the various institutions of the State.
Mandated by their families, Alkarama and Al Wissam Humanitarian Assembly submitted their cases to the Committee on Enforced Disappearances in 2017 to shed light on their fate.
Iraq urged to reveal their fate
Despite the many years that have passed since the disappearance of the two victims, the Iraqi authorities have still not acknowledged their detention. At the request of Alkarama and Al Wissam Humanitarian Assembly, the UN body called on Iraq to take all necessary measures to locate them and to investigate their disappearance without delay in accordance with its treaty obligations.
Iraq has until 23 January 2023 to provide clarification regarding the situation of the victims.
The issue of enforced disappearances raised by Alkarama before the Committee against Torture
Alkarama raised the issue of enforced disappearances in Iraq before the UN Committee against Torture on the occasion of the 2nd review of Iraq. During the review, the UN body ensured to verify Iraq's compliance with its treaty obligations under the Convention against Torture ratified in 2011.
Alkarama's shadow report established that the hundreds of cases of enforced disappearance documented and submitted to the CED in recent years highlighted a widespread practice of this violation, in part due to the inadequate implementation of the provisions of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICCPED) in national legislation.
Most disappearances since the U.S. invasion follow the same pattern. Victims are usually arrested by government-backed militias or by members of the security forces during raids on homes or checkpoints. Families are then regularly confronted with the authorities' refusal to acknowledge the detention or to provide information about the fate and whereabouts of the detainees.
Alkarama also highlighted Iraq's lack of cooperation with the Committee, to which more than 150 urgent actions relating to missing persons are still pending to this day.
This refusal to cooperate, which has so far indicated a lack of political will on the part of the country's authorities to resolve this issue, leads the Committee to regularly call on the State party to cooperate in good faith with the procedure established by the Convention.