Oral Statement to UN Human Rights Committee
1 September 2014
Human Rights Council.
Agenda item. Special Session –Iraq
Individual Oral Statement- Islamic Human Rights Commission
Dear Mr President
The Islamic Human Rights Commission would like to draw your attention to ongoing human rights abuses being committed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and our concerns that in the rush to rightly condemn the atrocities being committed in that area, we forget the violations and alliances that have lead to this situation of atrocious human rights violations against civilians of all creeds including religious and ethnic minorities, women, children and security personnel.
In summary, it is reported that 100,000 people from religious minorities have fled or have been killed, with thousands of Yazidis trapped in the Sinjar mountains. According to IOM more than 1.3 million Iraqis have been confirmed displaced in 2014, in three distinct displacement waves 1) those displaced from the Anbar conflict starting in early January, 2) the Mosul conflict, which began in early June and 3) the Sinjar crisis which began on 4 August. While some Iraqis have found their way to displacement camps, many are living in schools, mosques, churches and in unfinished buildings. Additionally, attacks on cultural and religious sites continue, with two major prophet shrines destroyed in July alone.
Mr. President, the root cause of the training of and rise of IS must be laid at the door of the United States and its allies' foreign policy in the region including the invasion and occupation of Iraq on 19 March 2003 by US, UK and other coalition forces, and their supporting and often training and funding armed opposition groups in Syria including ISIL/ISIS/IS. The occupation of Iraq perpetrated and fuelled ethnic and sectarian division policies by various administrations, that allowed a small group supported by the US to control policy and marginalise minority communities including religious and ethnic groups, as well as other voices from within the mainstream.
Support and advice from the US and its allies to this group gave succour to a sense of grievance across the country that has resulted inter alia in a breakdown of social order, and the ability for sectarian and racist groups to infiltrate and gain support in wider society and perpetrate terrorist acts of increasing barbarity since the 2003 invasion. Further the military, moral and financial support of the US and its allies' - including some of the Gulf countries - to the rebels in Syria including those Salafi/Takfiri rebel groups that now form IS and its support base, needs to be critically examined.
The US and its allies - in particular Saudi Arabia - cannot have been ignorant of the type of ideas held and acts condoned by the groups they have supported. It is time for scrutiny as to why - yet again - the US and its allies have seen fit to support and promote such groups. Further, it is time to stop isolating blame for the type of rights violations we are now seeing, simply to the minions of more powerful actors.
Thank you Mr President.