Human Rights Watch accused authorities of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Kirkuk, of forcing the displaced Sunni Turkmen to leave the city and called on them to “stop annoying them.”
The affected population said that the Asayish (Internal Security) forces of the Iraqi KRG had confiscated their identity cards, ration cards and abused them with the intention of forcing them to return to cities under the control of “Shiite units” under the Iraqi government’s popular staffing forces.
Two days ago, the organization mentioned in the investigation that several citizens said that the Asayish forces arrested them arbitrarily for several hours and in some cases beat them to force them to leave the city.
Iraqi Kurdistan government denies
In a written response to Human Rights Watch’s investigation, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government denied giving the displaced a deadline to leave Kirkuk, which is a key city in so-called ‘disputed territories’ between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.
He also denied that any religious or ethnic groups, including Turkmens, had faced any discrimination but said that, based on a decision by the local authorities, “refugees whose lands were liberated a few months or a year ago. Would be assisted to return to their original places of residence.”
According to Human Rights Watch, after an attack by the state organization in Kirkuk on October 21, 2016, KRG authorities forced hundreds of displaced Arab Sunni families to leave the city.
It is worth mentioning that, the Peshmerga forces control Kirkuk, with the exception of south-west of the province is still under the grip of ISIS.