[JURIST] The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) [official website] on Friday reported [press release] that casualty figures for the country have reached their highest point over the past five years. The UN mission reported that last year’s totals included 12,282 deaths and 23,126 injured citizens. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNAMI Nickolay Mladenov stated in regards to the figures, “[y]et again, the Iraqi ordinary citizen continues to suffer from violence and terrorism.” The surge in violence over the past year is attributed to the presence of Islamic State (IS) [JURIST backgrounder] militants in Iraq and their efforts towards escalating violence against the government and citizens. The UN has stated that the figures reported are not complete and are considered by experts to be the absolute minimums.
Earlier this month UN officials warned [JURIST report] the world of the growing crisis of IS in Iraq and urged the international community to take action in helping the Iraqi government transition towards democracy. IS has been causing increasing international alarm over its escalating human rights abuses [JURIST report] since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq in early 2013. In October UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic [official website] expressed grave concerns [JURIST report] about escalating violence against civilians.