The UN Human Rights Council has unanimously agreed to send an emergency mission to Iraq to investigate Islamic
State (IS) atrocities, as Baghdad warned the country was “facing a terrorist monster”.
The 47 members of the United Nations’ top rights body reached their decision on Monday after spending the day listening to details of horrendous abuses and crimes attributed to the group calling itself the Islamic State, including massacres, forced conversions, abductions, slavery, sexual violence and the use of children as soldiers and suicide bombers.
“We are facing a terrorist monster,” Iraqi Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani told the council, decrying acts “equivalent to genocide and crimes against humanity”.
The special session was called at Baghdad’s request, with support from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the US – among other countries.
“The reports we have received reveal acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale,” deputy UN rights chief Flavia Pansieri told diplomats from the 47 member states as she opened the emergency session.
The IS has grabbed large swathes of Iraq’s Sunni heartland since June 9. It has also occupied parts of Syria and declared a “caliphate” in a region straddling the two countries.
The group has shocked the world with filmed massacres and beheadings.
“The stories that have emerged from IS’s bloody assault on Iraq are the ones of nightmares,” US ambassador told the UN rights body, insisting it was “critically important that the council responds”.
The resolution adopted on Monday condemned “in the strongest possible terms systematic violations and abuses of human rights and violations of
international humanitarian law resulting from the terrorist acts committed by IS and associated groups”.
It called on the office of the UN’s new High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordan’s Prince Zeid al-Hussein, who will officially be sworn in on Thursday, to dispatch investigators to Iraq.
The fact-finding mission will count 11 investigators who should make it to Iraq within the next couple of weeks, a spokesman for the UN human rights office said.
Russian representative Alexey Borodavkin meanwhile did not pull any punches, blaming the rise of IS on countries helping the opposition fight Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
“The current tragedy in Iraq is clear proof of the fact that the unlawful, external interference leading to the destruction of statehood do not give rise to democracy,” he said.
At least 1,420 people were killed in the country last month alone, according to fresh UN numbers issued on Monday, while more than 1.8 million people have fled their homes since the beginning of the year. Al Jazeera