Iraq crisis: Acts of inhumanity on unimaginable scale – UN
The UN says it has received reports from Iraq that “reveal acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale”.
Deputy Human Rights Commissioner Flavia Pansieri said Islamic State (IS) was believed to have committed systematic and intentional attacks on civilians.
They include targeted killings, forced conversions, slavery, sexual abuse, and the besieging of entire communities.
The UN Human Rights Council has agreed to send an emergency mission to investigate the IS crimes.
The unrest in Iraq has escalated dramatically in recent months as Islamic State, formerly known as Isis, and allied Sunni rebels have taken control of large parts of northern and western Iraq.
Deputy Human Rights Commissioner Flavia Pansieri: Report “reveals acts of inhumanity which are on an unimaginable scale”
Thousands of people have been killed, the majority of them civilians, and more than a million others have been forced to flee their homes.
Yesterday, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution that will allow a team to investigate whether war crimes and crimes against humanity are being committed in Iraq.
Also addressing the meeting, Ms Pansieri said UN officials continued to gather “strong evidence” that serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law had been committed in areas under IS control.
Islamic State published pictures purportedly showing Yazidi men converting to Islam last month
“Many have been killed directly; others have been besieged and deprived of food, water or medication.
“Hundreds of thousands of civilians from these communities have fled to remote and desolate locations where unconfirmed reports indicate that scores of children, elderly people and people with disabilities have been dying as a result of exhaustion and deprivation.”
Yazidis have been targeted for extremely harsh treatment. Many men who refused to convert to Islam were reportedly executed, while women and young girls were allotted as slaves to IS fighters. At least 2,250 Yazidi women and children are reportedly being held hostage.
Ms Pansieri said evidence suggested that Iraqi government forces had also killed detainees and shelled civilian areas.
Last week, the UN said it had received reports of at least 650 male inmates of Badouch Prison in Mosul being shot dead by IS militants on 10 July. Witnesses and survivors said inmates claiming to be Sunni were taken away, while Shia and members of other religious or ethnic communities were ordered into ditches and killed.
Pro-government militiamen were accused of killing worshippers at a Sunni mosque in Diyala province
Shelling and air strikes by Iraqi security forces have also killed and injured many civilians. On 14 and 15 August, two air strikes in the Hawija area of Kirkuk left 25 people dead, while in Falluja 17 civilians were killed by shelling between 14 and 17 August.
Ms Pansieri concluded by urging the international community to intensify its efforts to protect all Iraqis and ensure that any individuals who had participated in, or supported, crimes against humanity and war crimes were held accountable.
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