News / Middle East

    UN: Nearly 19,000 Iraqi Civilians Killed Since January 2014

    Destroyed buildings are seen in the city of Ramadi, January 16, 2016. Baghdad and Washington have touted Ramadi as the first major success for Iraq's U.S.-backed army since it collapsed in the face of Islamic State's lightning advance across the country's
    Destroyed buildings are seen in the city of Ramadi, January 16, 2016. Baghdad and Washington have touted Ramadi as the first major success for Iraq's U.S.-backed army since it collapsed in the face of Islamic State's lightning advance across the country's
    Lisa Schlein

    The United Nations says in a new report that Iraq’s war with Islamic State militants led to more than 18,800 civilian deaths and more than 36,000 wounded between January 2014 and October 2015. 

    The report is based largely on testimony from victims, survivors or witnesses of violations and says that during the period from May to October of last year, nearly 4,000 civilians were killed and more than 7,000 wounded.  About half of these deaths took place in the capital, Baghdad.

    U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani tells VOA the figures do not fully capture what is happening in Iraq.

    “These only include the people who were directly killed by violence.  This does not include the countless others who have died from the lack of access to basic food, to water, and to medical care.  And, also bear in mind that the security situation in Iraq prevents us from doing a lot of our work.  So, really, even the casualty toll of those killed directly by violence could be much higher than what we have managed to document,” said Shamdasani. 

    UN blames Islamic State

    U.N. monitors blame most of these deaths on Islamic State, known also as ISIS and ISIL.  It says victims include those perceived as being opposed to the terror group's ideology and rule, such as government civil servants, doctors and lawyers, journalists and tribal and religious leaders.  It says women and children are subject to sexual violence, particularly in the form of sexual slavery.

    FILE - People gather in front of the mall in Baghdad, Iraq, on Jan. 11, 2016. Gunmen stormed into the mall Monday, spraying bullets at shoppers before blowing themselves up.
    FILE - People gather in front of the mall in Baghdad, Iraq, on Jan. 11, 2016. Gunmen stormed into the mall Monday, spraying bullets at shoppers before blowing themselves up.

    The report finds people judged by Islamic State's self-appointed courts are subjected to punishments such as stoning and amputations.  It details numerous examples of public executions, including shootings, beheadings, bulldozing, burning people alive and throwing people off the top of buildings.

    Crimes against humanity

    Shamdasani says some of the incidents amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.  She says IS systematically targets ethnic and religious minorities, the most well-known being Yazidis.  

    FILE - Kurdish Peshmerga forces inspect a site in Hardan village in northern Iraq, Dec. 22, 2014, where Islamic State group fighters allegedly executed people from the Yazidi sect captured when they swept through the area in August.
    FILE - Kurdish Peshmerga forces inspect a site in Hardan village in northern Iraq, Dec. 22, 2014, where Islamic State group fighters allegedly executed people from the Yazidi sect captured when they swept through the area in August.

    “They are either forced to convert or be killed. So, there is a case to be made that ISIL has the intent to systematically destroy either in part or in whole entire communities, which is why we are raising the alarm bell. This could amount to genocide, which is a serious international crime,” she said.

    The U.N. finds pro-government forces also are guilty of human rights violations and abuses and says it has received reports of unlawful killings and abductions perpetrated by those forces.  It notes some of these incidents may have been reprisals against supposed IS supporters.

    WATCH: Related report by VOA's Zlatica Hoke

    US Condemns Well-documented' IS Atrocitiesi
    X
    January 20, 2016 3:41 AM
    The United States has condemned the deaths and atrocities committed by Islamic State in its campaign of terror in Iraq. A State Department official commented on a new United Nations report that says close to 19,000 civilians were killed in Iraq between early 2014 and late 2015, and more than 3 million displaced as a result of the violence. The terrorist group also is said to hold about 3,500 slaves. Zlatica Hoke reports.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: williweb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
    January 20, 2016 5:56 AM
    Being at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, Aleppo has been conquered by the Romans, the Monguls, France, Britain, Egypt, The Ottoman Empire. More people have been killed conquering or defending Aleppo than any other place on Earth. The US-led anti IS coalition must destroy IS. Most of the world is helping. Let's do it. Raqqa and Mosul are left. We have an endless supply of bombs and missiles. IS has a limited supply of cannon fodder. No prisoners, no courts.

    by: Anonymous
    January 19, 2016 11:53 AM
    Courtesy of Saudi Arabia and Turkey for supporting ISIS and AQ in Iraq and Syria.

    by: Seamus McDermott from: West Coast
    January 19, 2016 8:04 AM
    19,000 killed in a 21-month period in Iraq.
    35,000 killed in a 12-month periord in the USA.

    Nothing from the UN about gun violence in the USA, though.

    In Response

    by: mike from: west coast
    January 19, 2016 10:59 PM
    Source?

    by: Naksuthin
    January 19, 2016 7:38 AM
    Thank you President Bush.
    Your great contribution to bring "Peace, Freedom and Democracy" to Iraq is paying off
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    January 19, 2016 8:57 AM
    Hey Naksuthin _ Remember? .. Beginning in 2011 the US had armed and trained tens of thousands of foreign Sunni Muslim extremists, fanatics and insane in Turkey and Jordan to wage war on the Shia Muslim led government of Assad and Syria, [and then], in 2013 al-Baghdadi came to Syria from al-Qaeda in Iraq with only the clothes on his back, and recruited those tens of thousands of foreign Sunni Muslim crazies (with a better cause to fight and die as a martyr for) into his new ISIL Caliphate army, [and then], al-Baghdadi led his ISIL terrorist army in an invasion of Iraq, and the rest is history?

    Think about it? .. There would never have been an ISIL terrorist army if the US hadn't armed and trained those tens of thousands of foreign Sunni Muslim crazies to overthrow Assad, would there have been? .. And if only those US armed and trained Sunni Muslim Iraqi troops hadn't abandoned their (American weapons and equipment) to the Sunni Muslim ISIL terrorist army? .. Why in 2011 did the US do it? .. Just to get rid of Assad? .. Why did all these innocents have to suffer and die? .. Just to get rid of Assad? .. WHY?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora