February 17, 2015 / 5:23 PM / in 3 years

Iraq tells United Nations that Islamic State committed genocide

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iraq told the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday that Islamic State militants have committed genocide.

The United Nations headquarters building is pictured though a window with the UN logo in the foreground in the Manhattan borough of New York August 15, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

“These terrorist groups have desecrated all human values. They have committed the most heinous criminal terrorist acts against the Iraqi people whether Shi‘ite, Sunni, Christians, Turkmen, Shabak or Yazidis,” Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said.

“These are in fact crimes of genocide committed against humanity that must be held accountable before international justice,” he told the U.N. Security Council.

Alhakim did not give further details of the crimes.

The country’s Shi‘ite-led government, backed by U.S.-led air strikes, has been trying to push back Islamic State since it swept through mainly Sunni Muslim provinces of northern Iraq in June. At the time, the militants met virtually no resistance.

Alhakim said Iraq needed more help to liberate all areas under Islamic State control.

U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for human rights Ivan Simonovic said in October that the campaign of Islamic State militants against Iraq’s Yazidi minority may be attempted genocide.

U.N. envoy to Iraq, Nikolay Mladenov, said he was gravely concerned about the safety of Iraq’s diverse ethnic and religious communities in areas under Islamic State control, particularly thousands of women and children still in captivity.

“Almost daily terrorist attacks continue to deliberately target all Iraqis, most notably the Shi‘ite community, as well as ethnic and religious minorities, across the country,” he told the Security Council.

“Equally worrying is the increasing number of reports of revenge attacks committed particularly against members of the Sunni community in areas liberated from (Islamic State) control,” he said.

Mladenov urged the Iraqi government to quickly provide military and financial help it had pledged to local leaders and tribal fighters to take on Islamic State, but warned against just a military solution.

“For Iraq to move forward, it is crucial that this fragile process of inclusion also expands to the political sphere,” Mladenov said. “An exclusively military solution to the problem of (Islamic State) is impossible, indeed it would be counterproductive.”

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by David Gregorio

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