Theses Master's

Children Born of the ISIL Conflict in Iraq

Gill, Lilly

In the aftermath of three years of armed conflict involving the Salafi jihadist militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), thousands of Iraqi children are undocumented and at risk of statelessness because they were born in ISIL captivity. These children are the products of both ISIL-perpetrated sexual violence as well as consensual intercourse with members of the jihadist group. Whether or not they are the products of genderbased violence, the children born in ISIL captivity lack valid civil status registration and documentation, rendering it difficult if not impossible for them to prove their nationality and citizenship—putting them at an increased risk of statelessness—and leaving them unable to access to healthcare, housing, education, and other basic services. A majority of the media coverage and limited scholarly research on the children born of the ISIL conflict in Iraq focuses exclusively on children born of ISIL-perpetrated sexual violence. This paper aims to close the gap in existing academic literature by investigating the social, economic, and legal challenges for all children born of the ISIL conflict in Iraq, regardless of whether or not such children are the products of gender-based violence or consensual marriage and intercourse. Because birth registration is a basic right necessary for establishing nationality and citizenship, and is often crucial for the realization of other human rights, this paper focuses on the lack of access to civil status registration as one of the most urgent concerns for virtually all children born of the ISIL conflict in Iraq. To investigate this issue, this study applies a human rights framework to the following research question: What are the risks and consequences for the children born of the ISIL conflict in Iraq who lack birth registration and civil status documentation?

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Holland, Tracey M.
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 22, 2019