Oct 02, 2014

UN Accuses Islamic State of Committing a ‘Staggering Array’ of Human Rights Abuses

A UN report produced jointly by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has compiled a list of heinous human rights violations committed in Iraq in the last 9 weeks.  The report was based on 500 interviews from eyewitnesses in Iraq, and documents the many ‘gross rights abuses’ perpetrated against civilians by Islamic State, which could constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Below is an article published by BBC News:


A "staggering array" of human rights abuses has been committed by Islamic State (IS) militants and associated armed groups over a nine-week period in Iraq, the UN says.

It says that abuses committed between 6 July to 10 September [2014] may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Iraqi leaders must unite to restore control over IS areas, the UN says.

It says that a number of violations have also been committed by Iraqi security forces and their associates.

The UN report, produced jointly by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (Unami) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is based on almost 500 interviews.

It says that abuses perpetrated by IS and associated armed groups have an "apparent systematic and widespread character".

"These include attacks directly targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, executions and other targeted killings of civilians, abductions, rape and other forms of sexual and physical violence," the report says.

"[They are] perpetrated against women and children, forced recruitment of children, destruction or desecration of places of religious or cultural significance, wanton destruction and looting of property, and denial of fundamental freedoms."

It says that the victims of the abuses are police officers, soldiers, and journalists and members of Iraq's diverse ethnic and religious communities, who have been subjected to "gross human rights abuses, at times aimed at destroying, suppressing or cleansing them from areas under their control".

"This report is terrifying," Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq Nickolay Mladenov said.

He said that hundreds of other allegations concerning the killing of civilians were not included because they had not yet been properly verified.

"Iraqi leaders must act in unity to restore control over areas that have been taken over by IS and implement inclusive social, political and economic reforms," Mr Mladenov said.

The report also details rights violations committed by the Iraqi security forces and affiliated armed groups during the same period.

"These included air strikes and shelling as well as the conduct of particular military operations or attacks that may have violated the principles of distinction and proportionality under international humanitarian law," the report says.

On Wednesday, UNAMI announced that overall a total of at least 9,347 civilians had been killed so far in 2014 and 17,386 wounded - well over half of them since IS began over-running large parts of the north in early June.