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

 


IRAQ: Humanitarians failing those fleeing ethnic cleansing

13 August 2014

IRAQ: Humanitarian efforts failing the hundreds of thousands forced to flee ethnic cleansing

The international community must urgently mount a concerted humanitarian response to assist hundreds of thousands of people across northern Iraq fleeing ethnic cleansing by the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS or IS), said Amnesty International.

“Those trapped on Sinjar Mountain make up a tiny percentage of the hundreds of thousands from minority communities displaced by the conflict, now stranded in dire conditions,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, speaking from northern Iraq.

“These people cannot go home as long as ISIS controls their towns and villages. They need help now.”

The international response to large scale displacement of civilians from areas seized by ISIS has been woefully inadequate to date. Even much publicized emergency air-drops to members of the Yezidi community stranded in villages on the Sinjar Mountain surrounded by ISIS militants have proved largely ineffective.

Hundreds of survivors from the mountain and many still stuck there told Amnesty International said that no aid had reached them and many said water bottles air-dropped in recent days often broke on impact.

A man trapped in Kocho, a village on the south side of the Sinjar Mountain, told Amnesty International:

“We have nothing, nothing has come to us. We hear the planes in the distance but nobody has come to us or sent us anything. We can’t leave. ISIS will catch us and kill us if we do. For god’s sake, please help us”.

The aid effort also came late - after many had already managed to escape with the help of Syrian Kurdish fighters who opened a safe passage on the north-western side of the mountain, close to the Syrian border.

ISIS has mounted systematic attacks on minority communities in northern Iraq, including Turkemen and Shabak Shi’a communities as well as Christians and Yezidis, aiming to drive non-Sunni populations from the areas under their control.

“The Iraqi central government, the Kurdish Regional Government, donor countries and international agencies must take concerted action to provide safe shelter and humanitarian assistance to men, women and children of all backgrounds forced to flee in the face of such ferocious brutality,” said Donatella Rovera.

“ISIS has given minority communities an unambiguous message – convert, leave or die. This is ethnic cleansing.”

“Survivors have told me how their male relatives were rounded up and executed and the women and children in their families abducted. A number of families from one of Iraq’s minorities, still living under ISIS rule, have told me they were recently forced to convert to Islam and are not able to leave the area.”

Meanwhile, with US air strikes now hitting ISIS positions and a likely further escalation of air attacks on ISIS targets by US and Iraqi forces, Muslim Sunni civilians living in ISIS controlled areas fear for their safety.

“Millions of Sunni Muslims are still living in ISIS-controlled areas – and not necessarily by choice,” said Donatella Rovera.

“Several have already been killed in Iraqi air force strikes on these areas. Just last week a lecturer from Mosul University, his wife and their four young children were all killed in one such attack. Similar incidents have been repeated across of the country.

“All forces operating in the area must at all times distinguish between military objectives and civilians; attacks can only be directed at military targets. Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited under international law.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

South Sudan: UN Agencies Reach More Than Half A Million

South Sudan: UN Agencies Reach More than Half a Million People with Life-Saving Aid More>>

Israeli Plans To Expand Its Illegal Settlement Enterprises

PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, strongly denounced Israeli plans to expand its illegal settlement enterprise by approving the construction of 2,561 units in the settlement of Givat Hamatos. More>>

ALSO:

Ecuador: Villagers Plan To Seize Chevron's $106M Arbitral Award

QUITO, ECUADOR, Sep. 30 /CSRwire/ - In what could be a huge boost to their campaign to force Chevron to comply with a $9.5 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador, rainforest villagers plan to enforce a court order directing them to take possession ... More>>

World Grossly Ill-Prepared To Deal Ebola Outbreak

Leaders from Sierra Leone and Liberia, the two countries, along with Guinea at the frontlines of the battle against the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa, urged the General Assembly today ensure the United Nations mounted a stronger, better coordinated response “to end this grave threat to our collective survival.”More>>

ALSO:

  • Save The Children - Save the Children Builds Its First Ebola Treatment Centre


  • Israel’s Netanyahu Warns Against ‘Militant Islam’

    29 September 2014 – From the podium of the General Assembly today Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the world of the grave threat he said it faced from militant Islam’s desire to dominate the planet, be they Sunni extremists or ... More>>

    Deputy PM of Syria Victims Of ISIL Brutality 'Waiting On Us To Act'

    As the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant began carrying their slaughter in the Middle East, “they might have surprised many of the countries present here, but not…us,” the Deputy Prime Minister of Syria told the United Nations General Assembly, underscoring today that the time has come for the world to stand united and tackle the threat head-on.More>>

    Not A Single Child Untouched By Recent Gaza Conflict

    There is not a single child who has not been adversely affected by the recent conflict in Gaza, where children suffer from bedwetting, difficulties in sleeping, nightmares, a loss of appetite, and display more aggressive behaviour at school, an independent United Nations human rights expert said todayMore>>


    Ebola: UN Readies To Start Work As Death Toll Surpasses 3,000

    Ebola response: medical supplies, including protective equipment and essential medicine, are loaded onto trucks at the Lungi International Airport in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF/Sulaiman Stephens More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news