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

 


UN Warns that Northern Iraq is Facing 'Cultural Cleansing'

UN Agency Chief Warns that Northern Iraq is Facing 'Cultural Cleansing'

9 August 2014

UNHCR distributing aid near Duhok in northern Iraq's Kurdistan region. Photo: UNHCR/E. Colt


As United Nations humanitarian agencies and partners are extending aid to hundreds of thousands of families on the run in northern Iraq from armed militants, a senior UN official is calling for an immediate stop to what she termed an “emerging cultural cleansing.”

Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), called for an immediate end to the attacks and for the protection of the diversity that has “forged the wealth and vitality of Iraqi culture over the millennia, as a unique testimony of the development of civilization and peaceful coexistence.”

Attacks against civilians and minority groups are “a direct blow on the cultural diversity, which is a defining characteristic of humanity,” she said. “It is unacceptable that people are denied their most fundamental rights, that they are systematically persecuted and killed because of their beliefs, ethnic origin or cultural expressions.”

Ms. Bokova joins a growing group that has voiced alarm in recent days about the displacement and attacks on ethnic and religious minorities. The Security Council andSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon have expressed concern about reports that the group, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), attacked civilians in the cities of Kirkuk, and Qaraqosh, and earlier attacks in Tal Afar and Sinjar district of Ninewa Governorate, affecting mainly the vulnerable communities of Christians, Turkomen, and Yezidis.

“The protection of people is inseparable from the protection of their cultures, living expressions and heritage,” Ms. Bokova underscored.

The situation remains particularly dire on Jebel Sinjar, or Sinjar Mountain, where an estimated 50,000 people, many of them women, children and the elderly, are believed to be trapped since ISIL forced them to flee their homes nearly a week ago.

More than 200,000 other people are believed to have made their way to Dahuk governorate in the Kurdistan region, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which has stressed that the numbers of those displaced are fluid and unverified.

They had been without aid until yesterday's airdrops by the Iraqi Government and the United States military, the UN agency confirmed in its latest 'Crisis Report'.

The United Nations is coordinating humanitarian assistance for the latest influx of civilians displaced into the Kurdistan Region and is exploring all avenues to try to get supplies to those trapped in ISIL areas of control – however, resources are being stretched to the limit, OCHA has said.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UK Labour Statement: The Shooting Of MP Jo Cox

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party said: “The whole of the Labour Party and Labour family - and indeed the whole country - will be in shock at the horrific murder of Jo Cox today. Jo had a lifelong record of public service and a deep commitment to humanity." More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Rainbow Colours On MFC In Sympathy For Florida Killings
Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre will be lit in colours of the rainbow Monday as a gesture of support for the LGBTI victims of the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On How Obama’s Supreme Court Choice Says Everything (Bad) About His Presidency

Nothing has epitomised the presidency of Barack Obama quite like his Supreme Court nominees. Time and again, Republican presidents will blithely nominate right wing ideological extremists (Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas) who only sometimes misfire and turn out to be liberals in disguise (David Souter). Yet Obama has consistently skipped over the judicially qualified liberals and gone for a succession of centrists... More>>

ALSO:

Turkey: UN Secretary-General On The Terrorist Bombing In Ankara

The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack in Ankara earlier today. According to the latest reports, the explosion in the Kizilay district killed and wounded dozens of people. More>>

ALSO:

Five Years On: Fukushima And New Zealand

Science Media Centre: It was the worst nuclear event since Chernobyl. In the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, a crippled Japanese nuclear powerplant went into meltdown, and the world watched as emergency workers scrambled to shut down and contain the reactors. More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF: 1 In 3 Syrian Children Has Grown Up Knowing Only Crisis

An estimated 3.7 million Syrian children – 1 in 3 of all Syrian children - have been born since the conflict began five years ago, their lives shaped by violence, fear and displacement, according to a UNICEF report. This figure includes more than 151,000 children born as refugees since 2011. More>>

ALSO:

Franklin Lamb: Syria’s Truce Bodes Well For Salvaging Our Cultural Heritage

The tentative cessation of hostilities in Syria, which came into effect on 2/28/2016, brokered by Washington and Moscow, is only in its second week... It is well documented that there have been daily incidents of artillery shelling, airstrikes and clashes. Yet, for the nearly 12 million displaced civilians, half of Syria’s population, it’s a much welcomed respite. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news