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)
Updated 11 July 2017

UN rights chief urges justice and healing after Mosul

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.”


Libyan navy says more than 300 migrants rescued

Updated 40 min 32 sec ago

Libyan navy says more than 300 migrants rescued

  • 128 Sudanese were in the boats, in addition to migrants from Chad, Egypt, Niger, Benin and Eritrea
  • It came days after Libyan navy patrols “rescued 278 migrants on board four inflatable boats

TRIPOLI: The Libyan navy said Sunday 335 migrants had been rescued and one body recovered in separate operations off the coast, as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe.
Nine children were among 57 migrants in a wooden boat rescued Saturday about 40 nautical miles from the town of Zuwara, west of Tripoli, navy spokesman General Ayoub Kacem told AFP.
He said they were from Ethiopia and Egypt.
It came days after Libyan navy patrols on Tuesday “rescued 278 migrants on board four inflatable boats northwest and northeast of Tripoli,” Kacem added.
The operations took place off the coasts of the cities of Khoms, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Tripoli, and Sabratha, located 70 kilometers west of the capital.
According to the statement, 128 Sudanese were in the boats, in addition to migrants from Chad, Egypt, Niger, Benin and Eritrea, including 35 women and 11 children.
One body was also recovered by the coast guard.
Libya, which has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi, has long been a major transit route for migrants, especially from sub-Saharan Africa.
In general, migrants rescued at sea are first met by humanitarian agencies that provide medical care and food.
They are then taken into the charge of the body working to combat immigration at the interior ministry of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.
On August 9, the Libyan navy accused the authorities of failing to manage migrants rescued at sea, claiming that it could be forced to let people go free once brought back to land.
Despite the risks, migrants continue to attempt to reach Europe by sea, preferring to take their chances than stay in Libya, where they are subject to abuse, extortion and torture, according to humanitarian organizations.