BAGHDAD – The United Nations has today released figures detailing civilian deaths, casualties and displacement since the beginning of 2014, when Islamic State (IS) began to take control of areas of western Iraq.
In the 16 months to 30th April this year, 15,000 civilians were killed in the country, with the UN human rights office and Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) saying that IS had possibly perpetrated human rights abuses that amount to genocide.
The report states that a further 30,000 people have been wounded in the same period, although there was no detailed record of who is responsible for the casualties.
The report points out that the UN has received information of abuses carried out by militias, Iraqi security forces and international groups as well as IS. Examples of abductions, torture, killings and civilian deaths caused by airstrikes are listed.
However, Zeid Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is quoted at the start of the report as saying,
“Civilians continue to be the primary victims of the ongoing armed conflict in Iraq – and are being subjected to human rights violations and abuses on a daily basis, particularly at the hands of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [IS].
“Ensuring accountability for these crimes and violations will be paramount if the Government is to ensure justice for the victims and is to restore trust between communities. It is also important to send a clear message that crimes such as these will not go unpunished.”
His thoughts are echoed by Ján Kubiš, Special Representative of the UN to Iraq.
“I am particularly concerned about the toll that acts of terrorism continue to take on ordinary Iraqi people.
“Iraq, and the international community must do more to ensure that the victims of these violations are given appropriate care and protection – and that any individual who has perpetrated crimes or violations is held accountable according to law.”
Over 2.8 million people have been displaced by conflict within the country, the report says, with 1.3 million of those children.
Instances of IS brutality listed include the murders of between 3,000 and 3,500 men, women and children from the Yazidi minority, and public executions.