Iraq violence: UN confirms more than 2,000 killed, injured since early June

People fleeing intense fighting in Mosul, the third largest city in Iraq, crossing into the Erbil governerate. Photo: UNHCR/Inge Colijn

24 June 2014 – More than 1,000 people were killed in Iraq, and another 1,000 injured in the two weeks since the group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) and its allies began to sweep across the country, the United Nations today confirmed, stressing that those figures should be viewed “very much as a minimum.”

According to the human rights team at the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), at least 757 civilians were killed and 599 injured in Nineveh and Salah al-Din provinces, north of Baghdad, and Diyala, in the east, between 5 and 22 June.

“This figure – which should be viewed very much as a minimum – includes a number of verified summary executions and extra-judicial killings of civilians, police, and soldiers who were hors combat,” Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told journalists in Geneva.

At least an additional 318 people were killed, and 590 wounded, during the same 17 days in Baghdad and areas in the south, many of them as a result of at least six separate vehicle-borne bombs.

OHCHR is cautioning that abductions continue to be reported in the northern provinces and Baghdad, some of which have resulted in killings. There is also evidence of summary executions continuing to take place, the UN office continued.

ISIL has broadcast more than a dozen videos showing beheadings and shootings of hors combat soldiers and police officers, as well as apparent targeting of people based on their religion or ethnicity, including Shia and minority groups such as Turcomans, Shabak, Christians, and Yezidis.

Meanwhile, UNAMI has also received reports of abuses by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), including at least two summary executions of prisoners. One of which, at the al-Qalaa police station in Tal Afar, allegedly involving the killing of 31 detainees on 15 June, is still not fully verified.

UN human rights officers have, however, confirmed a reported summary execution by ISF personnel in Mosul. According to the account, personnel threw grenades into rooms filled with detainees in the Nineveh Operations Command, killing at least 10 and injuring another 14.

“We urge the Iraqi authorities to swiftly carry out their obligation to thoroughly investigate these, and any other, reported summary executions and all other violations by their personnel, and to make a concerted effort to bring all perpetrators to justice,” the OHCHR spokesperson said.


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