Six years after the Islamic State’s genocidal rampage across northern Iraq, circumstances for traumatized religious and ethnic minorities remain dire. Thousands remain displaced, unable or unwilling to return to their homes in Nineveh province amid ongoing security challenges and other barriers to their safe return. Meanwhile, new sources of instability in Iraq—including the coronavirus pandemic, a financial crisis, and renewed threats of an ISIS resurgence—have highlighted the fragility of any improved stability in minority-rich areas, as well as the need for ongoing and intensive efforts to facilitate the sustainable return of all displaced communities.

On June 30, USIP hosted Assistant Secretary Robert A. Destro from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), as well as a panel of experts, for a discussion on the current reality for Iraqi religious and ethnic minorities, the international response in the aftermath of ISIS’s military defeat, and the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the new Iraqi government, and potential early elections. The event also featured analysis from USIP based on its Conflict and Stabilization Monitoring Framework.

Speakers

Nancy Lindborg, opening remarks
President & CEO, United States Institute of Peace

Robert A. Destro, keynote speaker
Assistant Secretary for the U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor 

William Warda
Member of the General Assembly and External Relations Committee, Alliance of Iraqi Minorities; and 
Director of Public Relations, Hammurabi Human Rights Organization

Susan Aref
Director and Founder, Women Empowerment Organization

Osama Gharizi
Iraq Senior Program Advisor, United States Institute of Peace

Lee Tucker, moderator 
Senior Program Officer, Middle East, United States Institute of Peace 

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