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

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news