Iraqi Foreign Ministry urges prompt investigation of Kurdish girl shot by Belgian police

Iraqi Foreign Ministry urges prompt investigation of Kurdish girl shot by Belgian police

The Foreign Ministry of Iraq on Sunday urged the Belgian government to investigate the killing of a young Kurdish migrant who was shot by Belgian police last week.

On May 17, Mawda Shamdin, 2, died after police opened fire during the pursuit of a van that was carrying about 30 migrants near the city of Mons in southern Belgium.

“The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the direct request of Minister Dr. Ibrahim al-Jaafari and the Iraqi Embassy in Brussels, is following the incident of the killing of an Iraqi girl (Mawada Shamadin) during the Belgian police’s hunt for a van carrying a number of refugees,” the spokesperson for the Ministry, Ahmed Mahjoob, said in a statement.

The ministry called the serious incident ‘regrettable,’ and requested Belgian authorities “promptly investigate the incident, clarify its circumstances, and handle the death of our Iraqi child in full respect of Belgian laws.”

The statement also expressed the ministry’s “deepest condolences” to the family of Mawda.

Speaking to Kurdistan 24 earlier, Mawda’s parents, who had migrated from the city of Raniya in the Kurdistan Region, accused the Belgian police of being responsible for their daughter’s death.

The officers opened fire on a highway to stop the van carrying the migrants, the parents said, wounding Mawda on the cheek. She died shortly afterward in an ambulance en route to the hospital.

They stated that, after the shooting, they were detained in jail overnight without being given any updates regarding their daughter.

Oliver Stein, the lawyer representing Mawda’s parents, called for an independent investigation and demanded that a parliamentary committee look into the events leading up to the incident.

Belgian Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, described the death of the child as a “tragic event with dramatic consequences,” stating that “an investigation is ongoing.”

On Monday, Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel visited Mawda’s parents to learn more about the incident.

During his meeting with Mawda’s parents, Michel promised to launch an investigation to determine the circumstances of their daughter’s death.

On Thursday, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Representation for the European Union (EU) said it would follow up on the killing of the Kurdish child.

Since the incident, the KRG Representation has been in constant contact with the Shamdin family as well as Belgian authorities, the statement said.

The KRG Representation has met with the child’s parents, it added, noting they would continue to provide the family with the required support and would look into the case with the relevant Belgian authorities.