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Last updated: January 2021

COI summary

[Targeting 2019, 2.2.5, 3.4.7]

The Kaka’i are a religious minority consisting of between 110 000 and 200 000 persons and located mainly in the southeast of Kirkuk and in the Ninewa plains near Daquq and Hamdaniya, and in Diyala and the KRI. The Kaka’i are followers of a syncretic religion, which contains elements of Zoroastrianism and Shia Islam. According to the Special Rapporteur on minority issues to the UN Human Rights Council, the Kaka’i are ethnically associated with the Kurds while maintaining a distinct religious identity.

The Kaka’i had suffered historic persecution, including under the Saddam Hussein regime, with their lands and villages confiscated. USDOS reported that outside the KRI, the Kaka’i are an unrecognised religious group, noting that the law does not prescribe penalties for practicing it, but that contracts signed by unrecognised religious groups are not legal or permissible as evidence in court.

According to the 2015 Report on International Religious Freedom of the USDOS, more than 2 500 Kaka’i families had fled to the KRI as a result of the ISIL incursion, and thousands remained displaced. In 2018, Kaka’i community activists stated that only a limited number of community members had returned to liberated Ninewa.

As of September 2018, members of the Kaka’i community in Kirkuk governorate (mainly in Daquq district, south of Kirkuk) continued to be displaced, because of security concerns. Kaka’i villages have been targeted by ISIL because of perceived cooperation with ISF, with several reported attacks. Some villages have been deserted, others are defended by the local communities, but the local population expressed its concern that it would not be possible to secure the communities without substantial help form the outside.

Risk analysis

The acts to which individuals under this profile could be exposed are of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. killing). In other cases, individuals could be exposed to (solely) discriminatory measures, and the individual assessment of whether discrimination could amount to persecution should take into account the severity and/or repetitiveness of the acts or whether they occur as an accumulation of various measures.

Not all individuals under this profile would face the level of risk required to establish a well-founded fear of persecution. The individual assessment of whether there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for the applicant to face persecution should take into account risk-impacting circumstances, such as their area of origin (higher risk in areas where ISIL continues to operate, lower risk in KRI), etc.

Nexus to a reason for persecution

Available information indicates that persecution of this profile is highly likely to be for reasons of race and/or religion.