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UN officials urge respect for Iraq constitution

[JURIST] The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, expressed concern [press release] Tuesday over the latest political developments, calling on the country's political leaders to respect the president's constitutional responsibilities. He also called on security forces to avoid any actions that may be perceived as interference in any matters related to the democratic transfer of political authority. On Monday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website; JURIST news archive] expressed support [press release] for Iraqi President Fouad Masoum's office, which is working towards forming a new government, while warning that increased political tensions coupled with the security threat of "Islamic State" could lead the country into deeper crisis. Ban also encouraged [UN News Centre report] Dr. Haider al-Abbadi, Iraq's Prime Minister-designate, who has been charged with the new government's formation, to form a broad-based government acceptable to all components of Iraqi society.

Iraq has been seized with violence since the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) [BBC profile] began its insurgency [JURIST op-ed] last year. In July the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official websites] reported evidence [JURIST report] of serious human rights violations committed by ISIS, including some that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Earlier that month Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that Iraqi security forces have extrajudicially executed at least 255 Sunni prisoners. Earlier this month the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq [official website] reported [JURIST report] that 1,531 Iraqi citizens and 886 members of the Iraqi Security forces were killed in June. Also in June UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] expressed grave concern [JURIST report] about the human rights abuses that are occurring in Iraq as a result of the ISIS insurgency. That same month Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a call for jihad [JURIST op-ed] against ISIS. In February HRW stated that the killing of four Iraqi SWAT members [JURIST report] by ISIS amounted to crimes against humanity.

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