Monday, 30 June 2014 11:38

UN chief voices 'grave concern' at deepening crisis in Iraq

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on Sunday, expressed his grave concern at the deepening crisis in Iraq and the rising number of civilian deaths and injuries, with over one million Iraqis having fled their homes due to the indistinctive pounding on residential neighbourhoods in Iraq's uprising provinces .

Mr. Ban “is deeply troubled by persistent reports of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law taking place in Iraq,” a United Nations spokesperson said in a statement.

These include summary execution of detainees, indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas, and the abduction and murder of members of ethnic and religious communities.

In a statement, Mr. Ban also urged to hold accountable any members of the Iraqi Security Forces or pro-government militias who have committed violations of international humanitarian or human rights law.

“The Secretary-General calls on authorities to ensure that persecution of civilians based on their religion or ethnic background cease immediately,” his spokesperson said.

Mr. Ban added that all parties to the conflict – whether opposition armed groups, or pro-government militias and Iraqi Security Forces – have the legal obligation and moral responsibility to avoid and prevent violence against civilians and ensure that their humanitarian needs are addressed.

Overall, at least 1,300 people were killed in Iraq, and another 1,250 injured since 5 June in fighting in Nineveh, Salah al-Din and Diyala alone, according to UNAMI and OHCHR. At least 900 of the people killed were civilians.

In addition, an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis have been displaced by continued government bombardment on civilian areas, including from Anbar and Ninewa governorates, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The Secretary-General commended UNAMI's continued efforts to assist in the settlement of the current conflict in Iraq, to monitor and report on human rights violations, and to support national and international humanitarian partners in providing assistance to those in need.

It is noted that government forces continued shelling on civilian areas in the provinces that the revolutionaries have managed to expel those rabid forces, where its barbaric pounding causes in daily basis the killing and wounding dozens of civilians, as well as the destruction of homes and the displacement of tens thousands of families to other provinces, amid the silence of the regional and international organizations which claim the defense of human rights.

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