Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new report:
Religious Freedom amid Iraq’s Political Crisis – This report analyzes religious freedom conditions in Iraq in relation to the federal government’s political crises in 2021 and 2022. It examines sectarianism in Iraqi politics, including intra-Shi’a Muslim tensions and anti-Sunni Muslim sentiment, each of which have contributed to a protracted government deadlock. The report also explains how this government paralysis has negatively impacted ethnic and religious minorities throughout Iraq including Yazidis, Christians, Sabaean Mandeans, Shabaks, and Kaka’is.
In its 2022 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the U.S. State Department include Iraq on its Special Watch List for engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom pursuant to the International Religious Freedom Act. In November 2022, an episode of USCIRF’s Spotlight podcast highlighted the Yazidi community’s struggle to recover from the ongoing effects of the genocide that the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) launched in 2014. The episode pointed to ways in which both the Iraqi federal government and Kurdistan Regional Government can help facilitate Yazidis’ safe return to their homeland in the Sinjar area, including fully implementing the Sinjar Agreement and the Yazidi Survivors Law.