Members of the United Nations Security Council on Sunday strongly condemned the “heinous and cowardly” murder of David Haines, a British humanitarian aid worker, by the armed group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“This crime is a tragic reminder of the increasing dangers humanitarian personnel face every day in Syria. It also once again demonstrates the brutality of ISIL, which is responsible for thousands of abuses against the Syrian and Iraqi people,” the 15-member body said in a statement issued to the press.
According to media reports, Mr. Haines, 44, was seized in Syria last year. He was being held by ISIL which had already killed two United States hostages, and a video of his death was released on Saturday night.
Council members expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the family of the victim, to the Government of the United Kingdom as well as to the families of all victims of ISIL.
“The members of the Security Council stressed again that ISIL must be defeated and that the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out,” said the statement.
They further emphasized that such “continued acts of barbarism” perpetrated by ISIL do not intimidate them but rather stiffen their resolve that there has to be a common effort amongst governments and institutions, including those in the region most affected, to counter ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al-Qaida.
The Council demanded the immediate, safe and unconditional release of all those who are kept hostage by these groups. It also demanded that all parties involved in an armed conflict comply fully with their obligations to ensure the respect and protection of all humanitarian personnel.
Further, Council members stressed that those responsible for the killing of David Haines should be held accountable, and urged all States to cooperate actively with the UK and all other relevant authorities in this regard.