Responding to an announcement by the Iraqi Security Forces on 9th July 2017 that they have retaken the city of Mosul from ISIS, Oxfam’s Country Director in Iraq, Andres Gonzalez said:
‘The retaking of Mosul will no doubt inspire hope among many Iraqis: hope that they can return home, rebuild their lives, and heal the divisions within their society. But these hopes will not be realised quickly or easily. Mosul residents continue to face severe risks from revenge attacks and explosives, and a lack of clean water, healthcare, and other basic services.
‘The people of Mosul have already suffered enough and now families may try to return home before it is safe to do so. Those men, women and children returning to Mosul must be supported with adequate information, guarantees of security, aid from humanitarian agencies, and access to social services.
‘As Mosul rebuilds, all its residents must enjoy the same rights and opportunities – whatever their gender, religion, or ethnic or tribal affiliation. In particular, Mosul residents must not face discrimination or punishment because of family links to ISIS fighters.
‘As the military offensives to retake the cities of Hawija and Tal Afar continue in the coming months, we expect to see even more civilians forced from their homes. The government of Iraq and the international community must not forget these families, who will also need life-saving aid and protection.’