In May 2011 the United States Commission on International Religious Freedoms published its annual report (covering 1st April 2010 – 31st March 2011). The Commission designated Iraq a “country of particular concern”.
Here is the Commission’s summary of religious freedom in Iraq:
“Systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations continue in Iraq. Members of the country’s smallest religious minorities suffer from targeted violence, threats, and intimidation, against which the government does not provide effective protection. Perpetrators are rarely identified, investigated, or punished, creating a climate of impunity. The smallest minorities also experience a pattern of official discrimination, marginalization, and neglect, particularly in areas of northern Iraq over which the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) dispute control. In addition, sectarian attacks continue between Shi’a and Sunni Iraqis, as well as religiously-motivated violence and intimidation against women and secular Iraqis.
Based on these concerns, USCIRF again recommends in 2011 that Iraq be designated as a “country of particular concern”, or CPC. USCIRF has recommended CPC status for Iraq since 2008, and placed Iraq on its Watch List in 2007.
The religious freedom situation in Iraq remains particularly grave for the country’s smallest, most vulnerable religious minorities, which include Chaldo-Assyrian and other Christians, Sabean Mandaeans, and Yazidis. The violence, forced displacement, discrimination, marginalization, and neglect suffered by members of these groups threaten these ancient communities’ very existence in Iraq. Although violence in the country has decreased overall, late 2010 saw a surge in attacks against Christians, resulting in a new wave of Christian displacement. The Iraqi government has publicly condemned such violence and made efforts to increase security but continues to fall short in investigating attacks and bringing the perpetrators to justice, despite a few arrests in high-profile cases. As in previous years, sectarian attacks continued to target Shi’a Muslims despite the government’s security efforts, and tensions between Sunni and Shi’a Iraqis remained a problem. Women and secular Iraqis also experienced serious religious freedom violations.”