UN says over 5,000 civilians killed in Iraq this year

Report documents ‘systematic’ violations of international law by Isis

People who fled from the violence in Mosul walk inside the Khazer refugee camp on the outskirts of the Kurdish city of Arbil. Photograph: Reuters

People who fled from the violence in Mosul walk inside the Khazer refugee camp on the outskirts of the Kurdish city of Arbil. Photograph: Reuters

Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 09:55

At least 5,576 Iraqi civilians have been killed this year in violence, the United Nations said today.

The organisation today provided the most detailed account yet of the impact of months of unrest culminating in an assault by Sunni militants through the north of the country.

At least 11,665 civilians have been wounded since January, when Sunni insurgents led by al-Qaeda offshoot now known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) overran the city of Falluja in the western province of Anbar, the UN said.

Last month, the insurgents seized swathes of northern Iraq, including the area’s largest city Mosul. Of the 2,400 people killed in June, 1,531 were civilians, the UN said earlier this month.

The report documents what it calls “systematic and egregious violations” of international law by Isis.

The UN found the group had executed civilians, committed sexual violence against women and girls, carried out kidnappings and targeted assassinations of political, community, and religious leaders and killed children, among other violations.

The report also details violations committed by government forces and affiliated groups, citing “summary executions/extrajudicial killings of prisoners and detainees”, which it said may constitute a war crime.

The UN noted that the “deteriorating security situation” had limited its ability to directly monitor and verify incidents.

More than 1.2 million people had been displaced since violence escalated last month, according to the report.

Reuters