Statement of Iceland at the 22nd special session of the Human Rights Council on the situation in Iraq
H.E. Ambassador Martin Eyjólfsson
The human rights situation in Iraq in light of abuses committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and associated groups
Twenty-second special session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, 1 September 2014
Iceland condemns in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), and its associated forces. Reports of unspeakable abuses, including mass killings, forced conversions and ethnic cleansing, require urgent attention – and action - by the international community, including this Council.
The systematic targeting of innocent civilians based on their religious or ethnic affiliation is the very definition of crimes against humanity. Impunity for such gross violations is unthinkable. Perpetrators must be held accountable for their crimes. It is our common moral obligation to bring justice to the victims.
The plight of women and children in this conflict deserves special attention. My government is appalled by disturbing reports of alleged cases of slavery, human trafficking and sexual abuse. The forced recruitment of boys into IS armed forces to serve on the front lines is equally unacceptable, and must be firmly condemned.
Iceland is also deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in the country. Thousands of displaced and besieged civilians are surviving under very difficult conditions with little access to humanitarian help, if any. We are clearly facing a massive humanitarian and human rights crisis. It is extremely urgent to provide protection for civilians and alleviate their suffering.
We support the efforts of Iraqi authorities to work towards a more inclusive government for all its minority, religious and ethnic groups. The atrocities we witness today in Iraq, however, are not just a country-specific problem. They are a direct consequence of the instability of the wider region. By failing to address it, the void has been filled by extremist armed groups like IS. Countless innocent civilians are now paying the price for this failure. Urgent and appropriate action is needed to prevent further suffering and bring about a durable peace.
Thank you Mr President.