Abandoned by IS: meet the 45,000 kids who don’t exist

World

Abandoned by IS: meet the 45,000 kids who don’t exist

Maybe I deserve this, but do not punish my children, says one desperate mother in an Iraqi displacement camp

Josie Ensor

Five-year-old Khatab Khalaf wonders why he can’t go to school like other boys his age. He cannot because, officially, he does not exist.

Like 45,000 other children born during IS’s rule and now living in camps across northern Iraq, Khatab is not acknowledged by the government.

During its three-year-reign, the jihadist group established its own state bureaucracy, registering births, deaths and marriages as well as collecting tax and distributing welfare benefits. But since the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant here in early 2017, the records – stamped with its notorious black-flag insignia – have become worthless...

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