Iraq: Citing 'numbing' extent of suffering caused by ISIL, UN rights chief urges focus...

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Publish Date : 11/11/2016 23:25
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As mass graves and further evidence of sexual exploitation, torture and killings, and human rights abuses committed by ISIL/Da'esh extremists in Iraq come to light, the top United Nations human rights official has called for immediate action to ensure that the rights and the needs of victims and survivors are met.

“The extent of civilian suffering in Mosul and other ISIL-occupied areas in Iraq is numbing and intolerable,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in a news release issued today, citing heartbreaking images of children being forced to carry out executions, stories of women being 'redistributed' among ISIL fighters, of killings for possession of SIM cards, and killings of those perceived to be opposed to ISIL's takfiri doctrines.
He also cited the forced displacement of tens of thousands of civilians and their exploitation as human shields, and then the risk of reprisals against these long-suffering women, men and children for their perceived support of ISIL.
“Justice for the victims and survivors of human rights abuses and violations – irrespective of when, where or by whom such abuses and violations were committed – needs to be impartial, transparent and effective,” he said, urging the Government of Iraq to act quickly to restore effective law enforcement in areas retaken from ISIL to ensure that captured fighters and their perceived supporters are dealt with according to the law.
“This is crucial to limit the opportunity for revenge attacks and collective punishments,” he added.
Mr. Zeid said that it is equally important that formal justice is supported by actions that promote community reconciliation, such as truth-telling and restorative justice, including the provision of medical and psycho-social services, housing, education and other financial support which may assist people in rebuilding their lives and their communities.
“The people of Iraq – all the people of Iraq – must see that their State, by its actions, is capable of protecting them by bringing to justice those guilty of the horrible crimes that have been committed against them,” he said.
Use of chemical weapons by ISIL
Details are also emerging of the use of chemical weapons by ISIL. On 23 October, four people died after inhaling fumes from burning sulphur from al-Mishrag Sulphur Gas Factory and Field in the Shura sub-district of Mosul, he said.
“By referring the situation in Iraq to the International Criminal Court; by giving Iraqi courts jurisdiction over international crimes; by reforming the criminal justice system and reinforcing the capacity of judicial officers to document, investigate and prosecute violations, the Government of Iraq can ensure justice and secure the foundations for a lasting peace for the country. Failure to do so may seriously jeopardize the long-term peace and security that the people of Iraq deserve,” the High Commissioner said.
UN human rights officers are continuing to monitor the impact of the armed conflict on civilians, directly and through information provided by implementing partners and networks of sources.

This is a summary of the report. For further details, see the following link
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55531#.WCXzNce_M1k

“ Iraq: Citing 'numbing' extent of suffering caused by ISIL, UN rights chief urges focus on victims' rights ”