Mass graves in Iraq estimated to contain 400,000 remains, reports Strategic Center for Human Rights in Iraq

BAGHDAD — International observers estimate that mass graves in Iraq hold the remains of approximately 400,000 people, predominantly Christians, Kurds, and Shiites. Most of these graves date back to the era of the former Iraqi regime, with some also from the period of Islamic State (ISIS) control.

The Strategic Center for Human Rights in Iraq reported the discovery of 215 mass graves across the country. Of these, 130 have been exhumed, while 85 remain untouched.

Fadel al-Gharawi, head of the Strategic Center for Human Rights, noted that out of the 130 exhumed graves, only 7,367 bodies were recovered. The center identified 95 sites linked to the former regime and 120 mass graves attributed to terrorism, with 51 already excavated and 96 awaiting excavation. Numerous mass graves remain undiscovered due to the large number of victims and missing Iraqi citizens.

Gharawi emphasized the challenges in uncovering more graves, including the need for satellite technology to locate them, a shortage of specialized personnel, insufficient financial resources for excavation, medical, and DNA examinations, and the lack of a specific budget for mass grave teams. He also highlighted the psychological distress faced by many personnel working under hazardous conditions with victims’ remains.