World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN: Serious Human Rights Violations, Potential War Crimes

UN reports serious human rights violations, potential war crimes in Iraq

18 July 2014

The group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its allies are imposing “untold hardship and suffering” on Iraqi civilians, the United Nations said today in a report that also casts doubt as to whether Iraqi security forces (ISF) and associated forces have done enough to protect civilians during hostilities.

The report, compiled by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN human rights office (OHCHR), is based on direct monitoring activities as well as a variety of sources, including civilian victims and witnesses, of events between 5 June and 5 July.

It documents ISIL and allies carrying out “large-scale killings, injuries and destruction and damage of livelihoods and property,” according to OHCHR, including in “markets, restaurants, shops, cafes, playgrounds, schools, places of worship and other public spaces where civilians gather in large numbers.”

“ISIL and associated armed groups have carried out many of these attacks in a systematic manner heedless of the impact on civilians, or have systematically targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure with the intention of killing and wounding as many civilians as possible,” the report states.

At least 1,531 civilians were killed in Iraq last month and 1,763 were wounded, according to UN figures. Some 1.2 million Iraqis have been internally displaced as a result of the violence – including over 600,000 since the beginning of June alone.

The report also documents violations committed by ISF and associated forces, including summary executions and extrajudicial killings of prisoners and detainees, “which may also amount to war crimes.”

Report authors also raised concerns about whether ISF and affiliated forces adhered to the principle of distinction and proportionality.

“International law requires that both the Iraqi State and armed groups take all measures to minimize the impact of violence on civilians,” said Nickolay Mladenov, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq and head of UNAMI.

He stressed that, in addition, State and armed groups must “respect the principles of distinction and proportionality when carrying out military operations,” as well as “take steps to ensure the safety and protection of civilians by enabling them to leave areas affected by violence in safety and dignity, and to access basic humanitarian assistance at all times.”

The report also notes that children have been disproportionately affected by the conflict.

“In all conflict-affected areas, child casualties due to indiscriminate or systematic attacks by armed groups and by Government shelling on populated areas have been on the rise,” it states. “Credible information on recruitment and use of children as soldiers was also received.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she was particularly concerned about the protection and welfare of members of vulnerable groups who remain in areas affected by the armed conflict, especially women, female-headed households, children, people with disabilities, the elderly, and members of minority groups.

“Every day we receive accounts of a terrible litany of human rights violations being committed in Iraq against ordinary Iraqi children, women and men, who have been deprived of their security, their livelihoods, their homes, education, healthcare and other basic services,” she said.

“The deliberate or indiscriminate targeting of civilians, the killing of civilians, the use of civilians as shields, the hindering of access for civilians to humanitarian assistance may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity,” she added.

The Government of Iraq is obligated to investigate serious violations, she stressed, and to hold the perpetrators to account.

Senior UN officials, including Mr. Ban, have reiterated the importance of a solution based on inclusive political and social processes that will address the concerns of all communities.

Mr. Mladenov noted that now that a Speaker of Parliament has been elected, “it is vital that Iraqi leaders quickly move forward on the nomination of a new President and a new Government.”

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, warned today that Iraq risks “full-fledged sectarian war and complete fragmentation” as Iraqis continue to flee their homes and minority groups are targeted.

Iraqi politicians and the international community are “running out of time to act,” said the UN refugee chief, who arrived in the country earlier this week and witnessed the dire conditions facing some those uprooted by the violence.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:

Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>

ALSO:

Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>

ALSO:

Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news