Iraq: UN envoy concerned about impact of ongoing fighting on civilians in Fallujah

Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Nickolay Mladenov. Photo: UNAMI

12 May 2014 – The top United Nations envoy in Iraq says he remains concerned at reports of increased armed activities in Fallujah, in Anbar province, and its impact on civilians.

“The people of Anbar have suffered from terrorism and violence for too long. All efforts must be made to ensure that fighting ends, people return to their homes, and reconstruction can begin,” said Nickolay Mladenov, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

“It is vital that those affected by the fighting are able to receive humanitarian support,” Mr. Mladenov added in a news release issued yesterday.

Fighting in Anbar in recent months between Iraqi troops and al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are residing in schools, mosques and other public buildings and are in need of various humanitarian items.

Mr. Mladenov said he is particularly concerned about the impact of violence on civilians and the deteriorating conditions in Fallujah.

“The UN humanitarian team will continue working with the Government and local authorities to ensure that, despite the difficulties, aid reaches those in need,” he stated. “Continued fighting, including shelling, often hampers the delivery of badly needed emergency aid.”

Since the outbreak of violence, the UN delivered a total of 15,186 food parcels, blankets, and tents, as well as nearly 38,000 water and sanitation supplies and hygiene kits.

The envoy added that as the Iraqi security forces continue their efforts to restore law and order in Anbar, they should ensure that the fight against terrorism is conducted “in accordance with Iraq’s international and constitutional human rights obligations.”

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