Amid battle for Mosul, ISIL forcing civilians ‘squarely in harm’s way,’ UN rights wing warns

A young girl carrying a teddy bear and waving a white flag, heads towards an army outpost in the Samah neighbourhood on the eastern outskirts of Mosul, away from the heavy fighting engulfing the city. Photo: UNHCR/Ivor Prickett

29 November 2016 – As the Iraqi military intensifies its operations to wrest Mosul from terrorists, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today warned that it continues to receive reports of “serious breaches” of international human rights and humanitarian law by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) in and around the war-torn city.

“We are deeply worried about the fate of hundreds of people who have reportedly being abducted by ISIL and moved to unknown locations. ISIL is also continuing to abduct and forcibly move civilians, and to kill those it suspects of leaking information to the ISF [Iraqi Security Forces],” OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told reporters at the regular press briefing in Geneva.

She added that ISIL has been installing rocket launchers and placing snipers on the rooftops of civilian homes, while also threatening to kill those who refuse to cooperate. These families are effectively used as human shields, placed squarely in harm’s way, caught between ISIL and Iraqi Security Force fire responding to rocket and sniper attacks, she said.

Just two weeks ago, ISIL shot and killed 12 civilians in Bakir for allegedly refusing to help launch rockets from the rooftops of their houses, and 27 civilians in Muhandiseen Park, in northern Mosul. In addition, a seven-year-old child was shot in Adan neighbourhood when running towards the ISF, said OHCHR.


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