GENEVA / IRAQ TELAFAR

22-Aug-2017 00:02:30
As military operations have commenced as of Sunday, 20 August, to retake the city of Telafar in northern Iraq from ISIL with thousands of civilians fleeing the city, UN humanitarian agencies remain concerned about the protection of Iraqi civilians. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / IRAQ TELAFAR
TRT: 2:30
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 22 AUGUST 2017, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Exterior, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, press briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrej Mahecic, Spokesperson, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR):
“Telafar in Ninewa province, some 65 kilometres north-west of Mosul, fell under control of extremist armed groups in 2014. Its pre-conflict population was thought to be around 200,000 people. Since April this year, more than 30,000 people fled Telafar district, many living in camps sheltering other families also mainly displaced from Mosul.”
4. Med shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrej Mahecic, Spokesperson, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR):
“We fear that Iraqi civilians are likely to be held as human shields again and that attempts to flee could result in executions and shootings. We call on all parties to the conflict to allow civilians to leave the conflict area and to access safety. We are also concerned about reports that in some instances displaced Iraqi families from Telafar are being denied access to safety in locations that have capacity to absorb them.”
6. Med shot, journalist
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Olivia Headon, Spokesperson, International Organisation of Migration (IOM):
“We are also receiving reports from my staff in Iraq of the thousands of people who are fleeing the conflict on the outskirts of Telafar as the fighting and operations have not reached the city center yet. Since the 18 August around 1,500 individuals have been received at IOM’S Haj Ali emergency site and more than 1,700 individuals have been received at the Qayara emergency site which was constructed by IOM.”
8. Med shot, journalists
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Women and girls under the control of ISIL, in particular women from the Yezidi and other minority communities, have been especially vulnerable to abuses of human rights and violation of international humanitarian law, including rape and sexual assault, forced displacement, abduction, deprivation of liberty, slavery, forced religious conversion, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”
10. Med shot, journalists
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Christian Lindmeier, Spokesperson, World Health Organisation (WHO):
“WHO will be using the same approach in Telafar as it did in the support provided for those fleeing from Mosul. The initial emphasis is on providing trauma care as close as possible to the fighting in order to reach people in what we call the ‘Golden Hour’ - so the first hour is highly important to reach people, to give trauma care.”
12. Various shots, journalists
STORYLINE
As military operations have commenced as of Sunday, 20 August, to retake the city of Telafar in northern Iraq from ISIL with thousands of civilians fleeing the city, UN humanitarian agencies remain concerned about the protection of Iraqi civilians.

Speaking to media today (22 Aug) in Geneva, Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said “Telafar in Ninewa province, some 65 kilometres north-west of Mosul, fell under control of extremist armed groups in 2014. Its pre-conflict population was thought to be around 200,000 people. Since April this year, more than 30,000 people fled Telafar district, many living in camps sheltering other families also mainly displaced from Mosul.”

Humanitarian agencies have been without access to Telafar since 2014. It is estimated that thousands of people could still be inside the city. According to UNHCR, people are said to have been surviving on unclean water and bread for the past three to four months.

UNHCR’s Mahecic said “we fear that Iraqi civilians are likely to be held as human shields again and that attempts to flee could result in executions and shootings. We call on all parties to the conflict to allow civilians to leave the conflict area and to access safety. We are also concerned about reports that in some instances displaced Iraqi families from Telafar are being denied access to safety in locations that have capacity to absorb them.”

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in cooperation with the Government of Iraq is delivering medical assistance, non-food items and shelter to vulnerable displaced people from Telafar. According to IOM, many of the displaced arrived exhausted and in poor health.

IOM’s spokesperson Olivia Headon said “we are also receiving reports from my staff in Iraq of the thousands of people who are fleeing the conflict on the outskirts of Telafar as the fighting and operations have not reached the city center yet”. She added that “since the 18 August around 1,500 individuals have been received at IOM’S Haj Ali emergency site and more than 1,700 individuals have been received at the Qayara emergency site which was constructed by IOM.”

Those families who have managed to flee the area have done so at great personal risk, walking long distances to reach safety, without food or water in scorching heat.

Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson for the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that “WHO will be using the same approach in Telafar as it did in the support provided for those fleeing from Mosul. The initial emphasis is on providing trauma care as close as possible to the fighting in order to reach people in what we call the ‘Golden Hour’ so the first hour is highly important to reach people, to give trauma care.”

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today released a report produced jointly with the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), urging the Iraqi Government to ensure that the thousands of women and girls who survived rape and other forms of violence by ISIL fighters receive car, protection and justice.

OHCHR’s spokesperson Liz Throssell said “women and girls under the control of ISIL, in particular women from the Yezidi and other minority communities, have been especially vulnerable to abuses of human rights and violation of international humanitarian law, including rape and sexual assault, forced displacement, abduction, deprivation of liberty, slavery, forced religious conversion, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”

OHCHR recalled that the Iraqi Government has the obligation, under domestic law and international human rights law, to ensure all victims have access to justice and reparations.
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