News / Middle East

UN Accuses Islamic State of Executions, Rape, Forced Child Recruitment in Iraq

A fighter from the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), mans an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the rear of a vehicle in Mosul, July 16, 2014.
A fighter from the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), mans an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the rear of a vehicle in Mosul, July 16, 2014.
Reuters

The United Nations accused Islamic State fighters in Iraq of executions, rape and forced recruitment of children during a campaign to seize much of northern Iraq, part of a conflict it said has killed almost 5,600 civilians this year.

In a report, the U.N. focused on a range of violations committed against civilians, particularly by the Islamic State, though it also said Iraqi forces and allied fighters had not taken precautions to protect civilians from violence.

"[This]...may also amount to war crimes," it said in its report into months of unrest which culminated in advances by Sunni militants led by the al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State, formerly known as ISIL, across the north of the country.

  • Iraqi civilians gather the morning after a car bomb killed many people and wounded tens of others in a crowded outdoor market, in the Shiite neighborhood known as Sadr City, Baghad Iraq, July 16, 2014.
  • After a bomb hidden in a wooden cart exploded near a Shiite mosque in one of Baghdad's largest markets, civilians inspect the site of the attack, in Shorja Market in Baghdad, Iraq, July 17, 2014.
  • Civilians inspect the site of a bomb attack in Shorja Market in Baghdad, Iraq, July 17, 2014.
  • Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr attend open-air Friday prayers in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, July 18, 2014.
  • A member of the Iraqi security forces stands next to followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr attending open-air Friday prayers in Sadr City, Baghdad, July 18, 2014.
  • Fighters with the "Peace Brigades" hold their weapons in combat position on the outskirts of Samarra, Iraq, July, 2014.

"ISIL and associated armed groups have also continued to... perpetrate targeted assassinations [of] community, political, and religious leaders, government employees, education professionals, health workers... sexual assault, rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls, forced recruitment of children, kidnappings, executions, robberies."

The report, the U.N.'s most comprehensive review of the impact of months of unrest, also accused the Islamic State of wanton destruction and plundering of places of worship and of cultural or historical significance.

"Every day we receive accounts of a terrible litany of human rights violations being committed in Iraq against ordinary Iraqi children, women and men, who have been deprived of their security, their livelihoods, their homes, education, healthcare and other basic services," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said.

Iraq's Interior Ministry, citing testimony from a survivor, said this week that an investigation had revealed the Islamic State took 510 Shi’ite prisoners from a Mosul prison to nearby farmland and executed all but 17 who managed to flee.

The report also detailed violations committed by government forces and affiliated groups, citing "summary executions/extrajudicial killings of prisoners and detainees", which it said may constitute a war crime.

Maliki staying put

Of the 2,400 people killed in June, 1,531 were civilians, the U.N. said earlier this month.

The report called on the government to investigate serious violations and to hold the perpetrators to account. But the capacity of the Shi'ite-led caretaker government to do so in the face of a Sunni uprising that threatens to fracture the country on sectarian and ethnic lines may be limited.

Iraqi politicians have yet to complete the formation of a new government more than three months after parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki faces pressure from Sunnis, Kurds and some Shi'ites to step aside after two terms in office in which his critics say he marginalized opponents.

In an interview published on Friday, Maliki, whose Shi'ite State of Law bloc won the most seats in parliament, reiterated his determination to form the next government.

"In free and democratic elections, we won the most votes and the constitution says that the leader of the strongest faction forms the government, so I want to run again for the post of prime minister in parliament," Maliki said in an interview with German mass-selling daily Bild.

He said some groups were trying to bypass the election result: "But we insist that the opinion and decision of the people be respected, and we won't make any compromises at the expense of the people and the legitimacy of the state."

As well as a new prime minister, parliament must agree on a likely replacement for President Jalal Talabani, who has been in Germany for treatment since suffering a stroke in December.

Talabani's office said he will fly back to Iraq on Saturday.

Although the presidency is a largely symbolic role, Talabani was widely seen as a unifying figure, both within Iraq and his own Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party, which has struggled to contain internal divisions without him at the helm.

This week the PUK's Najmaldin Karim, who is also governor of Kirkuk, submitted his candidacy for president without the blessing of party leaders, sources said, challenging Barham Saleh, who had been touted as frontrunner for the position.

In the first, silent footage to be broadcast of him earlier this year, Talabani appeared much weakened, suggesting he is unlikely to be able to resume an active role in politics.

Parliament is due to meet next Wednesday for the next session of talks on choosing a political leadership to tackle the conflict, which has displaced more than 1 million people this year, according to the United Nations.

Uprooted by the violence, the displaced live in "cruel and difficult" conditions, the country's top Shi'ite cleric said in Friday sermon, criticizing Iraqi and international agencies for ignoring their plight.

"The institutions concerned with this are still not meeting the scale of the hardships and suffering, despite the promises that we heard of help," Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani said in a sermon delivered by an aide the Shi'ite holy city of Karbala.

Security sources and witnesses said fighting continued on Friday in several towns north of Baghdad. Near the military base at Muqdadiya, 50 miles (80 km) north of the capital, militants blew up a bridge to prevent Kurdish Shi'ite tribes bringing reinforcements to confront them, they said.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs