UN: IS increasing number of civilian deaths in Iraq

UN: IS increasing number of civilian deaths in Iraq

[JURIST] The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official websites] on Monday jointly released [press release] a report [text, PDF] detailing violations against Iraqi civilians under the spread of Islamic State (IS) [JURIST backgrounder]. The 40-page report documents the killings of civilians, abductions, rapes, slavery and trafficking of women and children, forced recruitment, destruction of places of religious or cultural significance, and looting that have taken place in Iraq since the rise in IS power. Data from the report covers only the time period between September 11 and December 10, 2014. According to this data, the conflict in Iraq has displaced more than 2.1 million individuals and caused a high number of civilian casualties. The report calls for all ongoing conflict to comply with international humanitarian and human rights law, and for the cessation of abuses committed against civilians. It also calls upon all parties involved to protect and provide relief for civilians impacted by the conflict.

IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has caused increasing international alarm over its human rights abuses [JURIST report] since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq in 2013. Last week IS led suicide bombings in eastern Libya, killing at least 40 people [JURIST report] and injuring 70 more. IS said this was the group’s way of retaliating against Egyptian airstrikes protesting the IS presence in Northern Africa. In December the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights [official website] reported that the IS executed [JURIST report] 1,878 people in Syria between June and December. This week’s suicide bombings indicate that the number of executions continues to increase. Earlier last week the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned [JURIST report] the groups beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Syria. The Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court [official website] stated in November that the ICC is contemplating bringing war crimes [JURIST report] charges against IS jihadist fighters.