The Security Council today strongly condemned attacks by terrorist organizations including the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and urged Member States to assist the Iraqi Government’s efforts to combat militants and implement its new political agenda, while the United Nations envoy to the country briefed on the latest developments.
In the meeting presided over by United States Secretary of State John Kerry, the Council adopted a statement which urged the international community to work closely with the Government of Iraq to identify how best the world can aid implementation of the new Iraqi agenda.
The 15-member body once again expressed its deep outrage about Iraqis who have been killed, kidnapped, raped, or tortured by ISIL and also reaffirmed its full support for the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq in assisting the Iraqis and their Government in strengthening democratic institutions.
Members stressed the need that those who have committed violations of international humanitarian law or violations or abuses of human rights in Iraq must be held accountable, noting that some of these acts may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Also today, Nickolay Mladenov, head of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) briefed the Security Council on behalf of the Secretary-General, stressing that Iraq’s new Government will need international support as it works to restore security to large parts of the country.
Mr. Mladenov called Iraq’s transition “painful and scarred by violence.” Since the beginning of the year, ISIL has captured large parts of northern and western Iraq, gained access to substantial amounts of weapons, financial and natural resources.
“Their networks spanning the region and beyond have allowed them to recruit foreign fighters in their battle to dismantle the Iraqi state,” Mr. Mladenov, who is also the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, said.
“Their consolidated control over extended territory in both Iraq and Syria, combined with their ideology of hatred, fear and nihilism have turned ISIL into a clear danger to the very existence of a united Iraqi State, and a threat to the regional and international security,” he added.
The country is facing a humanitarian catastrophe and escalating emergency with up to 1.8 million Iraqis displaced since January. And the pressure on local communities across Iraq is growing as the continuing influx has created a massive shelter crisis. With winter fast approaching, Mr. Mladenov said, immediate measures must be enacted.
In response, the UN has mounted a massive humanitarian effort providing food, shelter, water, and health assistance. But Iraq’s Government must now also establish a national strategy to deal with the internally displaced. Minority groups have been systematically targeted.
On the issue of systematic targeting of minorities, Mr. Mladenov said that the UN Mission on the ground has conducted hundreds of interview with the victims and has verified widespread human rights violations have been committed by ISIL but also by armed groups supportive of the Government as well as some committed by Iraqi Security Forces.
For any security plan to succeed it must be broadly accepted by all communities. And while the Iraqi Constitution remains the “guiding framework for legitimately resolving all grievances,” Mr. Mladenov said that transitional justice and reconciliation are impossible without addressing these human rights violations of the past and the present.
To that end, the international community must continue to support the Government of Iraq and provide security, humanitarian and developmental assistance needed. Iraq and its neighbours have an unprecedented opportunity to re-start positive bilateral relations based on mutual interests and partnership.