UN rights chief issues call to action over Islamic State victims’ rights News
UN rights chief issues call to action over Islamic State victims’ rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] called [press release] Friday for immediate action for the victims of Islamic State (IS) to ensure their rights are upheld in Iraq. As the Iraqi Army moves closer to recapturing Mosul from IS, sometimes referred to as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), there are more reports about atrocities being committed against civilians. Zeid urged the Iraqi government to restore effective law in areas recaptured from IS an attempt to avoid revenge attacks and collective punishments. Zeid suggested that Iraqi courts take over from international courts, stating, “by reforming the criminal justice system and reinforcing the capacity of judicial officers to document, investigate and prosecute violations, the Government of Iraq can ensure justice and secure the foundations for a lasting peace for the country.” The UN is promoting reconciliation, hoping the government will lead by example and show it is capable of bringing justice for victims of these crimes.

This conflict has been raging in Iraq for years, with many individuals being subjected to the rule of IS. In October Amnesty International accused Iraqi government forces of human right abuses [JURIST report], citing them as possible revenge killings. In September it was shown that two-thirds of those injured or killed were civilians [JURIST report]. In August IS was accused of committing genocide [JURIST report] in Northern Iraq.