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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora