Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Mosul’s Refugees Face Identity Challenge | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Media ID: 55361863

Displaced people, who fled from Mosul due to ISIS violence, receive food in Khazer refugee camp, east of Mosul, Iraq. (Reuters/Alaa Al-Marjani)

Kirkuk-Mosul residents, who have escaped from ISIS that has been running their city for around three years, are facing new problems.

Iraqi authorities have rejected those refugees’ identity papers because they were issued by the departments of ISIS and carry the logo of the terrorist organization.

During its rule, the terrorist organization issued many types of documents including marriage contracts and birth certificates and forced people on destroying all papers representing the Iraqi state.

Citizen Thamer al-Jabbouri, a lawyer from Mosul, told Asharq Al-Awsat that since its control of the city in 2014, ISIS has worked on setting new laws and regulations on marriage, birth and death.

But the Iraqi government has rejected all these documents, which complicated matters for refugees particularly that babies were born in areas that fall under the control of ISIS, and their birth certificates were ratified by its concerned departments.

Jabbouri continued by saying that ISIS suspended all the personal status courts, established seven religious courts across Mosul, and appointed Arab and foreign judges who were allowed to take final decisions concerning marriages, sanctions, and punishments.

The organization also suspended the study of law at universities and legitimized acts such as marriages of minor girls; not to mention that all marriage contracts signed outside ISIS courts were considered cases of adultery.

Abdulrahman al-Shammari, MP for Nineveh, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Iraqi Government has considered the residents of Mosul and other regions in Nineveh as liberated captives, which justifies their failure to present identity papers.

Shammari added that the Iraqi government and the local governorate of Nineveh have established a special department specialized in civil statuses and nationalities, which have been assigned to issue legal papers for all people who escaped ISIS.

Lawyer Shaker al-Baher accused the Iraqi government of not shouldering its responsibilities in the matter of refugees, saying the identity papers’ case is very complicated.

Baher added that concerned authorities should work on forming special committees to count people who have escaped from ISIS and work on issuing all the official papers they need. They also have to register all births and mortalities that took place under ISIS’ control of Mosul.