Monday, March 30, 2015

UN's Ban Ki-Moon in Baghdad notes allegations of abuse by 'pro-government forces'

urges Iraq 2 do all it can to ensure protection of civilians & humanitarian access in conflict zones.
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Ban Ki-moon is the United Nations Secretary-General.  He arrived in Baghdad today.

One set of needed remarks are getting attention.

Civilians freed from brutality of Daesh should not have 2 fear liberators. Human rights need 2 be respected, says in Baghdad.
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  • And not just from the spokesperson.

    BREAKING: U.N. Secretary General: Concerned about alleged summary executions and torture by pro-government forces in
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    Ned Parker and John Stonestreet (Reuters) quote the Secretary-General, "I am... concerned by allegations of summary killings, abductions and destruction of property perpetrated by forces and militias fighting alongside Iraqi armed forces,"

    The needed remarks come after a missed opportunity last week.  Friday, Human Rights Watch issued a statement which included:

    The United Nations Human Rights Council has missed a key opportunity to address war crimes and rights abuses by all sides to the conflict in Iraq. The council adopted a resolution on the Iraq conflict by consensus on March 27, 2015, that denounces atrocities by the extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS), but failed to condemn the abuses by militias, volunteer fighters, and Iraqi forces.

    “No one questions the Human Rights Council's attention to the widespread atrocities by ISIS in Iraq, but ignoring abuses by Iraqi militias and security forces is not only indefensible, it's dangerous,” said John Fisher, Geneva director.

    Iraq prepared the resolution, and the Arab group of countries put it forward at the council on March 19. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report the same day that documents ISIS abuses. But the High Commissioner also found that militias and Iraqi security forces had “carried out extrajudicial killings, torture, abductions and forcibly displaced a large number of people, often with impunity,” and that by doing so they “may have committed war crimes.” The Human Rights Council asked for the report in September 2014 during an emergency session.

    Human Rights Watch reached similar conclusions following an investigation of abuses in the wake of the ISIS retreat from the town of Amerli in September. Militias looted property of Sunni civilians who had fled the fighting, burned their homes and businesses, and destroyed at least two entire villages, all in violation of the laws of war.

    Meanwhile AP notes two car bombs in northern Baghdad left 11 people dead and twenty-six more injured.   And KUNA notes that the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, John Boehner, arrived in Baghdad today as well.

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