The top United Nations envoy to Iraq today called for greater efforts to protect civilians amid the ongoing fighting, as the latest casualty figures show that nearly 1,200 civilians were killed in the month of July, while another 1,500 were injured.
“I am concerned about the rising number of casualties in Iraq, particularly among the civilian population,” the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), Nickolay Mladenov, said in a news release.
The UN casualty figures for July show that 1,186 civilians were killed, including 106 civilian police, while the number of civilians injured was 1,511, including 177 civilian police.
A further 551 members of the Iraqi Security Forces, including Peshmerga and SWAT, were killed and 467 were injured. These figures do not include casualties from the current operation in Anbar province.
Anbar excluded, Baghdad was the worst affected governorate with 1,035 civilian casualties (415 killed, 620 injured), followed by Salahadin (305 killed, 289 injured), Ninewa (209 killed, 270 injured), Kirkuk (68 killed, 127 injured), Babil (77 killed, 72 injured) and Diyala (71 killed, 66 injured).
“All sides should ensure that civilians are protected and that international humanitarian law is respected,” stated Mr. Mladenov.
In recent weeks, the “Islamic State” (IS) and associated armed groups have taken control of several cities and regions in northern Iraq. They are accused of gross human rights violations, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including targeting and killing civilians.
According to UNAMI, more than 500,000 people have been displaced since June, bringing the total this year to 1.4 million, including more than 230,000 Syrian refugees.
Mr. Mladenov noted that despite the continuing fighting, politicians have shown that they can work together in choosing the new President and the new Speaker of the Council of Representatives.
“It is time that they move forward on the creation of a new government that can address the root causes of violence in Iraq and ensure equitable development for all communities,” he added.