[JURIST] UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic [official website] on Monday expressed grave concern [press release] over escalating human rights violations by the Islamic State (IS) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in Iraq. Simonovic provided a report accessing the human rights issues in Iraq after spending some time on a trip within the region. Upon the end of his trip, Simonovic reported major concerns regarding the threat of IS and associated armed groups to civilians. Simonovic stated, “I am extremely concerned at the dramatic human rights consequences of the actions of [IS] and associated armed groups on civilians.” Simonovic called on the international community to continue to support efforts to stop IS.
IS, also referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been causing increasing international alarm over its escalating human rights abuses since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq [CNN timeline] that began in early 2013, prompting strong denouncements and military action against the group. Recent airstrikes against IS by the US and several Arab countries were defended [JURIST report] to the UN as necessary and consistent with the UN Charter [text] to defend Iraq and protect the US from terrorism. Last week the newly-appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hassan, decried [JURIST report] IS for its recent killings and human rights violations against women in IS-controlled areas in Iraq. Earlier in September Saudi Arabia’s conservative top clerical council made its most comprehensive verbal attack [JURIST report] against Islamic radicalism when it issued a statement calling terrorism a “heinous crime” and calling for its perpetrators to be tried in court.