European Court halts deportation of Iraqi family fleeing ISIS citing human rights violations

ROME — In the aftermath of the Islamic State’s (ISIS) seizure of vast territories in Iraq, including Nineveh Plains, an Iraqi family sought refuge in Istanbul, Turkey, alongside their four children. Fearing deportation back to Iraq, where they faced grave threats, the family lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to safeguard their rights.

In a landmark ruling, the ECtHR deemed the decision to deport the family as a violation of Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which respectively enshrine the right to life and the prohibition of torture.

Critically, the Court emphasized that the initial judgment rendered by the Istanbul administrative court failed to adequately assess the genuine risk of harm awaiting the family in Iraq. Instead, it focused solely on procedural aspects related to deportation, neglecting the fundamental human rights considerations at stake.

According to the European Syriac Union (ESU), Nineveh Plains fell victim to ISIS aggression in 2014, triggering mass displacement of its inhabitants and widespread destruction of religious sites, villages, and property. The ESU further underscored the harrowing toll exacted by ISIS, with hundreds of Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian individuals falling victim to the genocide, characterized by abductions, forced conversions, and heinous acts of violence against women and children.

The ESU’s account paints a grim picture of the atrocities committed by ISIS, including the looting and bombing of 85 churches, the desecration of cemeteries, and the forced expulsion of countless families from their ancestral lands.