While extensive media attention has been paid to the plight of those who were under siege on Sinjar Mountain, the broader crisis in north-western Iraq continues.
Amnesty’s Senior Crisis Advisor is currently on the ground, collecting and sharing eyewitness accounts of the crisis. In many ways, the plight of those who were stranded on Sinjar helped focus international attention to the broader crisis.
While this imagery has an historic element to it…world leaders are not entitled to a sense of relief that many of those displaced on Mount Sinjar have now moved on elsewhere.
The images, taken on August 7, show more than 5,500 vehicles strewn about at the foot and slopes of Sinjar Mountain. The vehicles are chaotically dispersed and abandoned along dried riverbeds, roads and the sides of the mountain. Many have their doors visibly left wide open.
That thousands of people drove there and abandoned their vehicles – and likely thousands more fled on foot or by other means – in order to scramble to inhospitable, exposed, dry spaces is a marker of the extreme violence, fear and vulnerability facing populations across northern Iraq since the ISIS offensive began on June 10.
On Thursday, the United Nations assigned its highest-level level emergency designation to the crisis in northern Iraq.
While this imagery has an historic element to it given the quickly evolving crisis, and the U.S. has claimed to have broken the siege of Sinjar Mountain, world leaders are not entitled to a false sense of relief that many of those displaced on Mount Sinjar have now moved on elsewhere.
An Amnesty International delegate on the ground in Iraqi Kurdistan has been documenting a shocking lack of adequate support for the massive numbers of displaced people elsewhere. Those who came back from Sinjar Mountain have joined hundreds of thousands of other displaced people from across northern Iraq who are now living in really appalling conditions.
The need for protection and humanitarian assistance – shared by hundreds of thousands of others who have fled the fighting – remain very real and urgent
Because of ongoing security concerns for the affected in the area, a limited number of images from August 7th are presented here.