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Iraq: Yezidi complaint to Human Rights Council alleges displacement, abuses and killings by oil giant ExxonMobil


In November 2019, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre was contacted by the representative of the Yezidi community in Iraq, who alleged that oil giant Exxon Mobil is responsible for a number of human rights abuses against Yezidi in Anbar, Fallujh, Mosul and Tikrit.

The group had submitted a complaint to the Human Rights Council (HRC) in July 2019 alleging the following in regards to the activities of Exxon Mobil within a broader framework of attacks against the Yezidi from government:

  • That in 2013 Exxon employed local security forces to contain protests by locals, who fired upon the Yezidi and killed two individuals.
  • That between 2011 and 2013, Exxon’s drilling and other supporting activities have resulted in the displacement of around 5000 Yezidi from their homes.

Both the HRC complaint and news outlets highlight the lack of consultation available to Yezidi, in contravention of the Iraq constitution which states that indigenous communities must be consulted when land decisions concerning them are being taken. Further, Exxon allegedly failed to provide copies of the signed contracts to the landowners.

In response local communities staged demonstrations against Exxon’s activities. The village of Gullan established a local Assembly for the Protection of the Environment and Public Rights to advocate against Exxon’s activities regarding environmental and social concerns, and a lack of job opportunities and local investment.

Reporting from Reuters claims that Exxon’s deal is not legal under Iraqi legislation as it was signed with the Kurdish Government and not the Iraqi Government.

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