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Yazidi children ‘left alone’ to deal with ISIL captivity trauma | Iraq News

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Nearly 2,000 Yazidi children who were subjected to horrendous human rights abuses at the hands of ISIL (ISIS) are not getting the help they need to deal with lasting physical and mental trauma, Amnesty International has warned.

In a 64-page report published on Thursday, the rights groups said the survivors currently living in Iraq’s Kurdish region have “effectively been abandoned” as they deal with severe debilitating long-term illnesses or physical impairments, as well as severe psychological problems.

While post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression are all common, other symptoms and behaviours include aggression, flashbacks, nightmares and severe mood swings, said the report which detailed the challenges faced by an estimated 1,992 children who survived torture, forced conscription, rape and other abuses during their 2014-2017 captivity.

Young female survivors of sexual violence are particularly vulnerable as they suffer from a range of health issues, including infection, scarring, and difficulties conceiving or carrying a child to term.

In the report, a doctor is quoted as saying that almost every girl she had treated between the ages of nine and 17 had been the victim of rape or other forms of sexual violence.

“These children were systematically subjected to the horror of life under ISIS, and now they’ve been left to pick up the pieces,” said Matt Wells, deputy director of Amnesty’s crisis response team.

“While the nightmare of their past has receded, hardships remain for these children.”

‘Please accept us’

The Yazidis are an ethno-religious minority numbering approximately 550,000 in their heartland of northwest Iraq before ISIL swept through the rugged region in 2014. Their belief combines elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions.

ISIL, which considers the Yazidis heretics, slaughtered thousands of Yazidi men, abducted women and girls and forced boys to fight on its behalf during the time it controlled large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

Yazidi children were forcibly converted to Islam and taught Arabic, banned from speaking their native Kurdish.

Thousands of Yazidi boys were starved, tortured and forced to fight for ISIL. Many former child soldiers today live with missing arms or legs. They have also often been left isolated after their return, Amnesty said.

Sahir, a 15-year-old former ISIL child soldier, told the rights group he knew he needed mental health support to cope with his trauma but felt he had nowhere to turn.

“What I was looking for is just someone to care about me, some support, to tell me, ‘I am here for you’,” he said.

“This is what I have been looking for, and I have never found it.”

Amnesty said access to education could help ease children back into society, but tens of thousands of Yazidis still live in camps for displaced people where schooling is irregular.

Many have also gone into debt from paying thousands of US dollars to smugglers to free Yazidi relatives who were held by ISIL.

The report also documents the plight of Yazidi women struggling to heal their psychological wounds after being forcibly wed to ISIL fighters and separated from their children born of rape.

Mothers interviewed by Amnesty said they were “pressured, coerced or even deceived” into leaving their children when they returned to their families.

“I want to tell [our community] and everyone in the world, please accept us, and accept our children … I didn’t want to have a baby from these people. I was forced to have a son,” said 22-year-old Janan.

“We have all thought about killing ourselves, or tried to do it,” said Hanan, a 24-year-old Yazidi whose daughter was taken from her.

Mothers must be reunited with their children, and no further separation should take place, Amnesty said.

“These women were enslaved, tortured and subjected to sexual violence. They should not suffer any further punishment,” said Wells.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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