UN Security Council strongly condemns killing of Japanese civilian by ISIL militants

A wide view of the Security Council in session. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz (file)

25 January 2015 – The United Nations Security Council today deplored the “apparent murder” of Japanese citizen, Haruna Yukawa, by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – the latest atrocity to be committed by the militant group against a captured civilian.

In a press statement issued earlier today, the 15-Member Council strongly condemned “the heinous and cowardly act” and demanded the immediate release of Japanese citizen Kenji Goto, also detained by the Islamist extremists.

“This crime is, yet again, a tragic reminder of the increasing dangers people face every day in Syria, including journalists,” the Council press statement declared. “It also once again demonstrates the brutality of ISIL, which is responsible for thousands of abuses against the Syrian and Iraqi people.”

Mr. Yukawa's beheading was confirmed by the group in a video message released on 24 January.

In their statement, the Members of the Council underlined the need to bring the perpetrators of such “reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice” and stressed that those responsible for Mr. Yukawa's death will be held accountable. In addition, they expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the family of the victim, to the Government of Japan and to the families of all victims of ISIL.

ISIL's reign of terror spans across the countries of Syria and Iraq where they are actively seeking to establish a 'caliphate' governed by so-called 'shari'a' law. As a result, they regularly mete out brutal and inhumane punishments including beheadings, crucifixions, and death-by-stoning, according to the UN rights office. Recently, two men accused of homosexual acts were thrown off the top of a building in Mosul, Iraq.

Meanwhile, other civilians who are suspected of violating ISIL's rules, or who are suspected of supporting the Government of Iraq, have also been victims. Four doctors were recently killed in central Mosul, allegedly after refusing to treat ISIL fighters.

The Council stressed again that ISIL “must be defeated and that the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out.”

In addition, the Members further emphasized that such continued acts of barbarism perpetrated by the militants “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, as the Council resolved in United Nations Security Council resolution 2170 (2014).”

Reaffirming the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, the Members also demanded the “immediate, safe and unconditional release” of all those kept hostage by ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and all other extremist groups associated with Al-Qaeda, adding that, in accordance with international humanitarian law, journalists, media professionals and associated personnel engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict are considered as civilians and “shall be respected and protected as such.”


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