News / Middle East

UN: Iraq Bloodshed Is 'Alarming'

An image posted on a militant news Twitter account, June 12, 2014, shows militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) people raising their flag at the entrance of an army base in Ninevah Province.
An image posted on a militant news Twitter account, June 12, 2014, shows militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) people raising their flag at the entrance of an army base in Ninevah Province.
Lisa Schlein
U.N. Human Rights chief Navi Pillay says the dramatic deterioration of the situation in Iraq is alarming.

Issuing a call to parties to the conflict, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said all groups are obliged under international law to treat members of armed forces who lay down their arms humanely, warning that murder, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture constitute crimes of war.

The U.N. rights chief issued the warning amid reports of summary executions and extrajudicial killings by forces allied with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL. Her spokesman, Rupert Colville, says Pillay is also urging combatants to respect, protect and meet the basic needs of civilian populations.

“The full extent of civilian casualties is not yet known, but reports received by UNAMI, the U.N. Mission in Iraq to this point suggest the number of people killed in recent days may run into the hundreds, and the number of wounded is said to be approaching 1,000," he said.

"We have received reports of the summary execution of Iraqi army soldiers during the capture of Mosul, and of 17 civilians in one particular street in Mosul City on the 11th of June,” added Coleville.

The United Nations reports around a half-million people have fled their homes since ISIL militants overran major towns and cities earlier this week. Prior to these events, UNAMI reports, a sustained upsurge in violent terrorist acts had already taken a very heavy toll of civilian lives.

Recent figures released by UNAMI show nearly 800 Iraqis have been killed and more than 1,400 others have been injured in acts of terrorism and violence between January 1 and May 30.

Colville says ISIL is deliberately hunting down anyone associated with the Iraqi government. “These appear to be targeted specific killings of people associated with government, government agencies, civilians working with police, etc," he said.

"And, that is extremely alarming. There is a real concern that the ISIL checkpoints that are now all over the place appear to be used to sort of hunt down and identify people who are associated with the government in any way,” he said. 

Colville says there also are reports of violations by the Iraqi army against civilians.  He says the U.N. has received disturbing reports that Iraqi security forces shelled civilian areas during the fighting last week. He says this resulted in a large number of civilian casualties, including allegations that up to 30 civilians may have been killed.

He says other reports indicate that Iraqi soldiers were turning civilians back at checkpoints, preventing them from fleeing the city in search of safer areas.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More