News / Middle East

    UN to Send Team to Investigate Islamic State Crimes in Iraq

    Iraq's Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani arrives for a special session of the Human Rights Council on Iraq at the United Nations Europeans headquarters in Geneva Sep. 1, 2014.
    Iraq's Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani arrives for a special session of the Human Rights Council on Iraq at the United Nations Europeans headquarters in Geneva Sep. 1, 2014.
    Reuters

    The United Nations agreed on Monday to send investigators to Iraq to examine crimes being committed by Islamic State militants on "an unimaginable scale," with a view to holding perpetrators to account.

    "We are facing a terrorist monster," Iraq's human rights minister, Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani, told the U.N. Human Rights Council which adopted a resolution tabled by Iraq and France at an emergency sitting of the 47-member state forum in Geneva.

    The Council aims to send 11 investigators, with a total budget of $1.18 million, to report back by March 2015.

    Islamic State, which declared a "caliphate" in June in parts of Iraq and Syria under its control, has been cited as a major security threat by Western governments since posting a video in August of the beheading of U.S journalist James Foley.

    The Sunni militants have driven more than 1.2 million people from their homes this year, the United Nations says. At least 1,420 people were killed in sectarian violence in Iraq in August alone, U.N. figures showed on Monday.

    U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri said there was "strong evidence" Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and allied groups had carried out targeted killings, forced conversions, sexual abuse and torture in Iraq.

    "The reports we have received reveal acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale," she said.

    Ethnic cleansing

    Pansieri voiced concern at the persecution of Christians, Yazidis, Shia, and Turkmen, saying such "ethnic and religious cleansing" may amount to crimes against humanity.

    Children belonging to targeted minorities have been forcibly recruited and positioned on front lines to shield fighters or made to donate blood, she said. Women are beaten for breaking rules requiring them to be veiled and escorted by men.

    Al-Sudani told the session that Islamic State, "oozing with barbarity", was threatening the makeup of his country.

    "The land of ancient Babylon is subjected to threats, starting with threats to its very independence. They are attempting to change its demographic and cultural composition," he said, adding: "Acts by ISIS threaten not only Iraq but the whole region and world."

    “It is a trans-national phenomenon that poses an imminent danger to all countries of the world, it defies all human rights principles and international law,” he added.

    Pansieri raised concerns that Iraqi government forces had also engaged in acts that may amount to war crimes.

    She said government-allied militias had opened fire on a mosque in Khanaqin district, northeast of Baghdad, killing 73 men and boys. Iraqi soldiers had shelled towns and carried out air strikes killing and injuring dozens of civilians, she added.

    The U.S. envoy to the rights forum, Keith Harper, urged Iraq's prime minister designate, Haider al-Abadi, to form a multi-ethnic government that would investigate allegations against government forces and "terrorist groups".

    "The stories that have emerged from ISIL's bloody assault on Iraq are the ones of nightmares. Christians and others have been driven from their homes with the threat of 'convert or die'," Harper said.

    "The Yazidis have been buried alive, beheaded or killed in mass executions."

    Al Sudani, asked whether the U.N. investigators would look into alleged crimes by government forces, said they would focus on those committed by the Sunni militants and that the Baghdad government would look into allegations against state forces.

    "These are allegations of crimes perpetrated by the government and we have a transparent investigation by our own government which will soon be deposited with all concerned members of the Human Rights Council," he told Reuters.

    Western, Arab condemnation

    Western and Gulf countries denounced Islamic State abuses. “This organization has nothing to do with Islam, even if they carry the name,” said Kuwait's ambassador Jamal Al-Ghunaim.

    But Russia and its ally Syria blamed Western and Arab states for allowing the Sunni extremists to thrive in the region.

    Russia had supplied arms to counter Islamic State, including Sukhoi 25 strike aircraft, Moscow's ambassador Alexey Borodavkin said.

    “ISIL acquired a huge potential: it now controls colossal financial resources that it has seized, is pursuing illegal oil trade and has a considerable arsenal of modern weaponry. All this could have been avoided if the international community had taken measures at the time to remove this cancer at an early stage of its formation,” he said.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Wasam from: Egypt
    September 01, 2014 10:44 PM
    hey VOA, Islamic State, MB, Islamic Jihad and Hamas are using children as suicide bombs and gang rape girls to become suicide bombs... there is no difference between them - it is the same Islamic ideology.
    Finally, Qatar (alJazeera) has been exposed for its filth in the Middle East.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora