The effects of the Dutch airstrike on Hawija
On April 13, renowned journalists Azmat Khan and Danny Ghosen, human rights lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, Lars Walrave (Dutch Ministry of Defense) and several others reflected on our new report about civilian harm effects of the Dutch airstrike on Hawija, discussed the present needs in Hawija, and debated the way forward for the Netherlands.
In 2015, an estimated 70 civilians were killed in a Dutch airstrike on the Iraqi city of Hawija. The impact of the airstrike can still be felt in the city on a daily basis. At our report launch event in Amsterdam on April 13, we talked about that impact, and the responsibility of the Dutch state, who to this date has neither truly acknowledged the long-term civilian harm effects of the airstrike nor paid individual compensation to its victims.
In the night of 2-3 June 2015, Dutch F-16s bombed the Iraqi city of Hawija. This strike was one of over 34,000 airstrikes carried out by the US-led Coalition in their war against ISIS. The airstrike hit its target: an ISIS bomb factory. However, it led to such a huge secondary explosion that it reduced an entire neighborhood to rubble.
Al-Ghad League for Woman and Child Care, the PAX Protection of Civilians (PoC) program and the Intimacies of Remote Warfare (IRW) program at Utrecht University have spent the last two years researching the reverberating civilian harm effects of the airstrike on Hawija. Their findings expose that 85 civilians were killed, hundreds more were injured, and infrastructure, livelihoods and futures were destroyed. In De Balie, the report authors, renowned journalists Azmat Khan and Danny Ghosen, human rights lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, Lars Walrave (Dutch Ministry of Defense) and several others came together to reflect on the report findings, discuss the present needs in Hawija, and debate the way forward for the Netherlands.
The launch event explored questions like: Who do civilians blame for what happened to them? Has the Netherlands taken enough responsibility? Is this airstrike an isolated incident or does it symbolize how the West wages war in the Middle East?
- Azmat Khan (Reporter The New York Times Magazine and Assistent Professor at Columbia University)
- Danny Ghosen (Journalist and maker of “Als de bom valt”, about the Dutch airstrike on Hawija)
- Liesbeth Zegveld (Human rights lawyer, represents 11 victims from Hawija)
- Alexander Hammelburg (Member of Parliament of D66)
- Sadet Karabulut (Former Member of Parliament of Socialist Party)
- Mohammed Abdulkareem Khthar (Head of Programs for Iraqi NGO Al-Ghad) - online
- Saba Azeem (Co-author Hawiija report and project leader at PAX)
- Jolle Demmers (Co-author Hawija report and research leader at IRW, Utrecht University)
- Lauren Gould (Co-author Hawiija report and project leader of IRW, Utrecht University)
- Erin Bijl (Co-author Hawija report and Senior Project Officer at PAX)