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UN rights chief urges justice and healing after Mosul

FILE PHOTO: Civilian children stand next to a burnt vehicle during clashes between Iraqi security forces and al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Mosul, Iraq June 10, 2014. (REUTERS)

GENEVA: UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called Tuesday for accountability and dialogue to heal the trauma of Mosul after Iraqi troops retook the country’s second city from the Daesh group.
Zeid demanded that offenders be brought to justice and all violations thoroughly probed, and urged Iraq to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“The root causes of violence and conflict in Iraq need to be addressed in terms of human rights violations suffered by all communities in the country over several decades. Only then can secure foundations be laid for the lasting peace that the Iraqi people deserve,” Zeid said.
“(...) Dialogue between communities needs to begin now to try to halt the cycle of violence, and to promote accountability for the crimes against Iraqis.”
Iraqi forces launched their campaign in October. The city was seized by the jihadists during a 2014 offensive that also saw them take control of large parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria.
“The women, children and men of Mosul have lived through hell on earth, enduring a level of depravity and cruelty that is almost beyond words,” Zeid said.
“ISIL (Daesh) forced tens of thousands of people from their homes in and around the city and used them as human shields, a war crime under international humanitarian law and a violation of the most basic standards of human dignity and morality,” he said.
He said other rights abuses included the sexual slavery of women and girls and the “abduction of 1,636 women and girls, and 1,733 men and boys from the Yezidi community who remain unaccounted for.”
Zeid also cautioned that although the Daesh had been ousted, their “fighters can still terrify and kill through bombings and abductions, and people are still being subjected to daily horrors and suffering in remaining ISIL (Daesh) strongholds.”

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