Iraq: Appeal to religous leaders as new report condemns armed groups attacks as crimes against humanity

The call coincides with the publication of a new report by Amnesty International branding the actions of a new generation of armed groups as crimes against humanity.

Amnesty International has issued a new appeal to religious leaders in Iraq calling on them to condemn attacks by armed groups.

The call coincides with the publication of a new report by Amnesty International branding the actions of a new generation of armed groups as crimes against humanity.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

"Religious and other leaders in Iraq should be sending out the message that killing civilians is murder and not an act of heroism."

"On behalf of the thousands of Iraqi civilians who find their lives in jeopardy every day, all religious leaders need to condemn attacks on civilians, making it clear that they are an affront to human rights, and to urge everyone to dissociate themselves utterly from these abominable acts."

"In short, we need to hear Iraq’s religious leaders clearly saying that there can never be a justification for the killing of civilians and that armed groups in Iraq are committing crimes against humanity."

The 56-page report, ‘In Cold Blood, Abuses by Armed Groups’, details:

  • Direct attacks against civilians intended to cause the greatest possible civilian loss of life
  • Indiscriminate attacks resulting in the deaths of civilians including Children's rights, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and the elderly
  • Targeting of UN and humanitarian organisations, including the attack against the UN compound in Baghdad
  • Hostage-taking, abductions, torture and killings
  • Attacks on Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls, including indiscriminate or direct attacks on Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights activists
  • Killing of captured police and military personnel, scores of whom have been seized, disarmed and then shot dead.

The report examines the role of religious and other leaders in encouraging attacks by armed groups.

A number of religious entities and personalities appear to exercise influence over some of the groups who consider that Iraq is under occupation by the Multinational Forces.

The report also calls on the Iraqi Transitional Government and the MNF to protect the human rights of everyone under their jurisdiction and fully investigate all allegations of human rights abuse - including reports of possible torture and ill-treatment of suspected members of armed groups arrested by the Iraqi and MNF authorities.

Amnesty International also reminds governments in the region and elsewhere that they have a responsibility to prevent their territory being used by those that provide military or other assistance to armed groups responsible for abuses against civilians.

These governments should bring to justice anyone suspected of involvement in such abuses under their jurisdiction or assist the Iraqi authorities in doing so.

Read a copy of the report online (pdf, 311Kb)

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