For two decades now, Iraqi children and other social, cultural and civilization components of Iraqi society have been subjected to serious violations of human rights, which began with the destruction by the United States and the United Kingdom of Iraqi civilian services and infrastructure in their aggression against Iraq during the Gulf War of 1991-2000, and the imposition of brutal economic sanctions that deprived the Iraqi people of food, medicine, clean water, health-care services, education and security and led to the death of more than half a million Iraqi children during the 1990s.
Children often work in dangerous, unhealthy environments, are deprived of the rights promised in the Convention ‘s Rights of the Child, such as health, education and recreation, but are deprived of childhood in itself, are raised illiterate and unskilled, are inclined to commit crimes, and many children are sold or forced to work by their parents or families. The situation of the children of Iraq has been made worse by the many wars and tragedies that members of society in Iraq have experienced(and continue to live), including children.
Some associations show that the Iraqi environment itself is encouraging for the violation of the rights of the child, noting that the child is subject of violence at school, at home, and watches violence and murder on television, so it is necessary to provide a suitable environment to raise the Iraqi child.
Internal laws contribute to child protection’s failure
Although Iraq is one of the countries that accede to the United Nations Charter on the Rights of the Child, where the international convention obligates the signatory country to protect the child from abuse and exploitation, protect his privacy and not be exposed to his life, but these commitments are not applied in most cases.
The current Iraqi State is doing more or less education and health work for children and supports food security through ration. However, it is unable to provide housing and sustainability to the poor. It leaves the child of poor or missing parents vulnerable to homelessness and vulnerable to sexual or economic exploitation and recruitment by the terrorists.
the continued obstruction of religious blocs and parties in the Iraqi Parliament, the passage of the proposal for the Family Violence Act, claiming that it is a reproduction of Western laws that encourage girls, women, and children to revolt, as there is a paragraph in which it provides for the establishment of shelters for sufferers and helps them complete their lives in the manner they wish and choose, contributed to the failure to protect the children.
Besides, Iraq does not yet have a Domestic Violence Act and relies on legal articles allowing the husband and father to “discipline” the children or the wife “as long as it does not exceed the limits of the law. Usually, policemen resort to reconciliation with the perpetrator and return the child to the violators with a pledge not to repeat the assault again. Reconciliation means practically returning children to a violent without real guarantees that the situation of violence will not recur.
Real facts abuses
A video of man beating, torturing his son and tying him to an iron chain, while the child bloodied face asking his father to kill him in order to put end to his suffering, has gone viral over the past two days. Tweets by firing a Hashtag “Save the Child Mohammad,” calling on the authorities to arrest the responsible for torturing the child and hold him accountable, sparked widespread reactions on the Iraqi street.
Figures from officials of Iraqi Health’s Ministry have revealed that, over the past year (2020), 23 children have been killed by their relatives in separate towns as a result of family violence in the country for some time, while some 50 others have been hospitalized for severe beatings leading to fractures or burns.
The Iraqi Ministry of Interior recorded 15,000 cases of domestic violence in Iraq for 2020, according to statistics revealed by the Ministry, while Iraqi activists said the real numbers were much more than recorded. Iraqi children suffer from an increase in violence directed against them according to social activists who say that the incidence of violence against children has increased alarmingly. The escalation of violence against children is due to an increase in violence within Iraqi society, the domination of feelings of despair, economic hardship, and quarantine.
More efforts should be made to protect children from violence
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has also uncovered the existence of grave violations of children in Iraq, indicating that they are unprecedented in the world. “The scene of children’s rights in Iraq continues to be marked by grave violations of the environment in which they live, the requirements of their health, education, environment and security realities and their drive to beg, as well as increased school drop-outs, exposure to sexual abuse, sale of human organs and forced labor, not to mention the daily suffering they faced in camps of displacement. It should have formed, since 2015, a child welfare body and launched a National Child Protection Strategy for the next 30 years and enacted the Child Protection Act, but those basics were still in place, leading to grave and unprecedented violations of children in Iraq.
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, expressed its deep sadness and concern at the ongoing reports on violence against children in Iraq, the United Nations, as well, warned that the spread of the corona virus and poor economic conditions could raise the rates of domestic violence in Iraq to unprecedented levels.
It has become clear that the protection required for children is not only legal but also takes on an economic, cultural and social dimension for children. It is incumbent upon the Iraqi State in all its institutions and Iraqi society in all its components and individuals to deal with all forms of child abuse.