International community is "failing" Iraq

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Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore briefs on her week-long mission to Iraqi camps for the displaced in Baghdad, Najaf, Erbil and Dohuk. Photo: UN Photo/Elma Okic

In Iraq, conflict is still having an horrendous impact on civilians who are being failed by the international community, the UN said Monday.

Kate Gilmore, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, made the comments after returning from the conflict-ridden country.

She said it was right that global partners should help Iraq to defeat extremists, but insisted that there should also be a comparable investment in non-military relief.

Here's Daniel Johnson in Geneva.

After a week-long mission to Iraqi camps for those displaced by conflict, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore said that there was less violence in these places, but little else.

She highlighted the case of one seven-year-old girl whose brain tumour has grown so fast that her eyes are now turning inwards.

Her parents can't help her.

"There is no treatment for her, there's treatment sufficient to do a brain scan, to know the tumour is growing, but there is absolutely no way for her to access a hospital, they have no money, they have no insurance, there is absolutely no social protection whatsoever. There is only an absence of gun. Is this peace? Is this dignity?"

In the same settlement at Dohuk in the far north of Iraq, Kate Gilmore said that camp residents had gone months without a simple change of clothes.

This, she said was evidence of the need for the international community to make more than just a military investment in the country, which has been helping Iraq Defence Forces battle an extremist insurgency which escalated two-and-a-half years ago.

But Kate Gilmore added that this is likely to be extremely complicated given the "political paralysis" in Iraq where there is "no rule of law".

Since 2014, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) says that 18,000 people have been killed by the fighting, and twice that number has been injured.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1'10"


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