Despite various recent peace initiatives proposed by Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki through his National Reconciliation Plan, extreme levels of violence and displacement continue unabated in the country, according to the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Iraq, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, in a recent briefing to the Security Council. In its latest human rights report, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq notes that the number of civilians killed in the country reached a record high of 3,590 in July and 3,009 in August. Many bodies showed signs of torture and execution-style killing. The report documents attacks by insurgents, a growth in militias and organised crime – which continues to force Iraqis to move to safer areas of Iraq or to leave the country. According to recent assessments by the International Organisation for Migration, close to 200,000 people have been recently displaced as a result of the rising violence, which was sparked by the destruction of the Al-Askari shrine in Samarra in February 2006. The violence hampers the delivery of assistance in some parts of the country and local aid groups are being targeted for assisting displaced families of different religious affiliations. Military operations are ongoing and also continue to cause temporary displacement, particularly in Al-Anbar province. These newly-displaced people are in addition to more than one million internally displaced people in Iraq, the majority forced to flee their homes by conflict and human rights violations under the former regime.
See also: IDMC Iraq country page