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Right to Heal Initiative

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Synopsis

FOR THE LATEST UPDATES ON THE RIGHT TO HEAL INITIATIVE, VISIT RIGHTTOHEAL.ORG.

Yanar Mohammed speaks at Right to Heal launch event on March 19, 2013.

On the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iraqis and U.S. military veterans came together to hold the U.S. government accountable for the lasting effects of war and the rights of veterans and civilians to heal. The Iraq war is not over for Iraqi civilians and U.S. veterans who continue to struggle with various forms of trauma and injury; for veterans and Iraqis who suffer the effects of environmental poisoning due to certain U.S. munitions and burn pits of hazardous material; and for a growing generation of orphans and people displaced by war.

As Iraqi civil society tries to rebuild from the Iraq war as well as a decade of U.S. bombing and sanctions, it faces political repression by a corrupt U.S.-established government that is selling off the country’s natural resources to foreign interests. The U.S continues this pattern of violations with its ongoing war in Afghanistan. The United States must be held accountable for its violations of the rights to life and health of these war-torn peoples.

Status

On September 15, 2014, CCR and IVAW filed a submission to the UN Human Rights Council in advance of the Universal Periodic Review of the United States.

On September 25, 2014, CCR and IVAW submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the U.S. Department of Defense and State Department seeking the firing coordinates of weapons used in Iraq that contained depleted uranium.

Description

The Right to Heal Initiative is a multi-faceted project to address the impact of the war in Iraq. The objectives of the project are to examine the human rights impacts and implications of the Iraq War, in particular the connection between harms done to communities where the wars are waged and service member communities, and to implement joint strategies to address these harms. The project focuses on the effect of the invasion and occupation on the lives and health of Iraqi  communities and U.S. service member communities alike, in particular through (i) the long-term impacts of the U.S. military’s use of certain munitions, in terms of health issues and environmental degradation; (ii) the consequences of the failure to treat the physical and mental injuries suffered by service members, leading to harmful and violent behavior affecting both their communities at home and, when redeployed, communities where the conflicts are fought; and (iii) gender-based violence, as a weapon and by-product of war, and its prevalence within the U.S. military.
 

Legal

Right to Heal report

Shadow Report Submitted to Human Rights Committee for its Review of the United States

UPR Report Submitted to Human Rights Council for its Review of the United States

2014 Freedom of Information Act requests:

Advocacy

Right to Heal Factsheet [English and Arabic]

Right to Reparations Factsheet

Multimedia

Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry Opposing US Military Intervention in Iraq

Letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Support of Request for Thematic Hearing

For more information, including videos, press coverage, action items, and more, please see the Right to Heal website.

Timeline

On March 19, 2013, the 10-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Center for Constitutional Rights submitted a request for a thematic hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on behalf of Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, and the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq, three petitioning organizations whose members are directly impacted by the lasting effects of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

On September 13, 2013, CCR filed a shadow report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in advance of its review of the U.S. in its 109th Session.  The U.S. was reviewed pursuant to its treaty obligations as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).  The shadow report details the violations to civil and political rights that took place due to the war and continue to take place as a result of the United States’ war-making and occupation.

On January 20, 2014, CCR filed a second request for a thematic hearing.

On March 26, 2014, just after the 11th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, CCR and its partners organized the People's Hearing on the Lasting Impact of the Iraq War, where Iraqi civil society leaders and U.S. military veterans testified to the lasting impact of the war and made the case that the U.S. government must be held to account for the serious damage it has caused.

On June 19, 2014, CCR and partners sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging no further military intervention in Iraq.

On September 15, 2014, CCR and IVAW filed a submission to the UN Human Rights Council in advance of the Universal Periodic Review of the United States.

On September 25, 2014, CCR and IVAW submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the U.S. Department of Defense and State Department seeking the firing coordinates of weapons used in Iraq that contained depleted uranium.