This document is an executive summary of the Right to Heal supplemented report. You can read the supplemented report at this link.
The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, begun on October 7, 2001, is now the longest running officially declared war in U.S. history. Followed by the invasion of Iraq less than two years later on March 19, 2003, based on false claims about Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, the combined so-called “War on Terror” has, by conservative estimates, resulted in the deaths due to direct war violence of at least 330,000 people – including civilians, humanitarian workers, journalists and combatants of different nationalities. The number of indirect deaths due to after-effects of fighting, unexploded munitions, malnutrition, damaged health infrastructure and environmental degradation resulting from these conflicts is likely four times the number of direct deaths – or more than one million. And these figures do not include the toll the U.S.’s global “war on terror” has taken on people and communities in other countries where the U.S. war-making has spilled over as in Yemen, nor the countries where the U.S. operated or made use of black sites and torture programs. The violent consequences of these wars have resulted in additional hundreds of thousands of casualties—physical, mental and emotional injuries to individuals and communities that in some cases cannot be healed and in others will take decades, indeed generations, to overcome, even with due and adequate reparations, which have not been made. For the millions of civilians impacted by these wars, who have lost loved ones, been displaced, harmed and terrorized by the direct and indirect effects of the war-marking policies and practices of the U.S. and its few allies, the so-called war on terror has been instead a global war of terror.
On the ten-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, U.S. veterans of the war and civil society in Iraq unite in their struggle to heal and demand that the U.S. government take responsibility for the enduring harms inflicted by this misguided and illegal war. Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, and the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq jointly submit this request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (the Commission) for a thematic hearing to identify and acknowledge the devastating and long-lasting health effects suffered by Iraqis and servicemembers and the constellation, magnitude and scope of the grave human rights violations perpetuated by the U.S.’s conduct of this unlawful and unjust war and its responsibility for these harms.