Rights Violations of “Increasingly Sectarian Nature”

A United Nations report released this week details widespread human rights violations of an increasingly sectarian nature in Iraq, as well as a deterioration of the rule of law in large parts of the embattled country.

The report, produced jointly by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), covers the period from 11 September to 10 December 2014.

Members of Iraq’s diverse ethnic communities, including Turkmen, Shabaks, Christians, Yezidi, Sabaeans, Kaka’e, Faili Kurds, Arab Shi’a, and others, have been intentionally and systematically targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), in what appears as a deliberate policy aimed at destroying, suppressing or expelling these communities permanently from areas under their control, the report documents.

“I continue to be deeply shocked by the gross human rights violations committed by ISIL and associated armed groups. The targeting of civilians based on their faith or ethnicity is utterly despicable and we must not spare any effort to ensure accountability for these crimes,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, reiterating his call for Iraq to join the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court or to accept the exercise of its jurisdiction with respect to the current situation facing the country.

The report documents serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross abuses of human rights perpetrated over a three month period by ISIL. These include killings of civilians, abductions, rapes, slavery and trafficking of women and children, forced recruitment of children, destruction of places of religious significance, looting and the denial of fundamental freedoms.

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