UN rights chief urges Iraq to prioritize accountability and reconciliation

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Civilians foraging near the Mosul University Presidency building, which bears the scars of fighting between Iraqi troops and ISIL militants. Photo: OCHA/ Themba Linden

An Iraq grounded in equality and the rule of law is "the most fitting response" to the horrors inflicted on citizens by extremists, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Tuesday.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein's comments follow the recent retaking of the northern city of Mosul from the terrorist group ISIL, which is also known as Daesh.

However, he warned that Iraq will face a series of human rights challenges which, if not addressed, could spark further violence and suffering.

Dianne Penn reports.

Zeid said Mosul's citizens "have lived through hell on earth" under ISIL.

With the city now reclaimed, the extent of the group's violations and abuses has become even more evident, he stated.

The UN human rights chief also noted that there have been allegations of human rights violations by Iraqi troops and associated forces, as well as by individuals seeking revenge against ISIL and its supporters.

Vengeance, he said, "works against national reconciliation and social cohesion."

Zeid suggested that the Iraqi authorities should ensure that responsibility for law and order is restored in areas retaken from ISIL, and that human rights and basic humanitarian needs are met.

He also urged the Government to prioritize accountability.

And he stated that "the most fitting response" to the horrors inflicted by ISIL "is to step up efforts to create an Iraq grounded in equality and the rule of law."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’01″

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