Militant groups in Iraq committing grave and horrific human rights violationsListen /
The UN Human Rights Office has condemned the appalling, widespread and systematic human rights violations being committed in Iraq by the militant group Islamic State and its associated forces.
The violations include targeted killings, forced conversions, abductions, trafficking, slavery, sexual abuse, destruction of places of religious and cultural significance, and the besieging of entire communities because of ethnic, religious or sectarian affiliation.
The UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay says the grave and horrific violations which are being committed daily, would amount to crimes against humanity.
Ms Pillay says the displacement of Christians, Yezidis and other minority groups in Iraq is also of serious concern adding that the international community must take all necessary measures to protect members of ethnic and religious communities and to secure their return to their places of origin in safety and dignity.
Ravina Shamdasani is the spokesperson for the UN Human Rights office.
"The High Commissioner is calling for accountability on all sides. All parties to the conflict have an obligation under international law not to target civilians or civilian objects. In the case of ISL, we have reports of a massacre in Badoush prison in Mosul, where up to 670 prisoners were reportedly killed on the basis of their sectarian affiliation because they were Sunnis. Such cold blooded systematic and intentional killing of civilians after singling them out for their religious affiliation may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The High Commissioner is also calling on the international community to ensure that the perpetrators of these vicious crimes do not enjoy impunity. Any individual committing or assisting in the commission of international crimes must be held accountable."
The High Commissioner is calling on the international community to work with the authorities in Iraq to prevent a humanitarian and human rights tragedy.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.