UNAMI / OHCHR claims ISIL acts may amount to crimes against humanity and genocide
A 19 January joint report by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has revealed the extent to which the conflict with ISIL has affected civilians in Iraq between 1 January and 31 October 2015.
At least 18,802 civilians were killed within the time frame, and a further 36,245 wounded. 3.2 million people, at least one million of whom are school-aged young persons, have been internally displaced since the beginning of last year.
The report also highlights the 3,500 or more enslaved by the extremist organisation, mostly children and women from the Yazidi community. “ISIL continued to subject women and children to sexual violence, particularly in the form of sexual slavery,” states the report. It also lists the methods of abuse and execution used by ISIL.
“The violence suffered by civilians in Iraq remains staggering. The so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) continues to commit systematic and widespread violence and abuses of international human rights law and humanitarian law. These acts may, in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.
“During the reporting period, ISIL killed and abducted scores of civilians, often in a targeted manner. Victims include those perceived to be opposed to ISIL ideology and rule; persons affiliated with the Government, such as former Iraqi security forces (ISF), police officers, former public officials and electoral workers; professionals, such as doctors and lawyers; journalists; and tribal and religious leaders. Others have been abducted and/or killed on the pretext of aiding or providing information to Government security forces. Many have been subjected to adjudication by ISIL self-appointed courts which, in addition to ordering the murder of countless people, have imposed grim punishments such as stoning and amputations.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said, “Even the obscene casualty figures fail to accurately reflect exactly how terribly civilians are suffering in Iraq. The figures capture those who were killed or maimed by overt violence, but countless others have died from the lack of access to basic food, water or medical care.
“This report lays bare the enduring suffering of civilians in Iraq and starkly illustrates what Iraqi refugees are attempting to escape when they flee to Europe and other regions. This is the horror they face in their homelands.”