19 July 2014 – The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has subjected the civilian population in Iraq to untold hardships and suffering in what amounts to possible war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to a recent UN report.
By targeting markets, restaurant, playgrounds, places of worship and other similar places, ISIS has systematically attacked civilians with the intention of killing and wounding as many as possible.
The report by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN Human Rights Office, also finds that the Iraqi Security Forces have committed war crimes by carrying out summary executions and extrajudicial killings.
Commenting upon the dire situation, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, calls upon the Iraqi State and armed groups to minimize the impact of violence on civilians and to respect the principles of distinction and proportionality when carrying out military operations.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, says she is particularly concerned about the protection and welfare of members of vulnerable groups who remain in areas affected by the armed conflict:
“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. Parties to the conflict are required by international human rights law and international humanitarian law to prevent such violations and abuses from taking place.”
1.2 million Iraqis have been internally displaced as a result of the violence – including over 600,000 since the beginning of June. The UN reiterates its call to the Iraqi political leadership to quickly move forward with the country’s political process, so that rule of law can be restored.
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