UN chief voices grave concern at deepening crisis in Iraq

NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has expressed his grave concern at the deepening crisis in Iraq and the rising number of civilian deaths and injuries, with over one million Iraqis having fled their homes due to the fighting.

Mr. Ban, “Is deeply troubled by persistent reports of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law taking place in Iraq,” a United Nations spokesperson said in a statement.

These include summary execution of captured soldiers and detainees, indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas, and the abduction and murder of members of ethnic and religious communities.

In the statement, Mr. Ban also urged authorities to hold accountable any members of the Iraqi Security Forces or local militias who may have committed violations of international humanitarian or human rights law.

“The Secretary-General calls on all parties to the conflict ensure that persecution of civilians based on their religion or ethnic background cease immediately,” his spokesperson said.

Mr. Ban added that all parties to the conflict whether armed groups, ISIL ISIS , local militias or Iraqi security forces have the legal obligation and moral responsibility to avoid and prevent violence against civilians and ensure that their humanitarian needs are addressed.