With the offensive to retake Mosul from ISIL underway, Amnesty International is about to publish a major report entitled Punished for Daesh’s crimes’: Displaced Iraqis abused by militias and government forces.
Meanwhile the UN is warning of the potential catastrophic humanitarian consequences the offensive could have on an already long-suffering population.
“There are real fears that the offensive to take Mosul could produce a humanitarian catastrophe resulting in one of the largest man-made displacement crises of recent years. There are currently 3.3 million displaced Iraqis, approximately one-in-10 of the Iraqi population,” announced WillIam Spindler, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, at a press conference.
“Humanitarian agencies predict that up to one million or more people could be displaced by the offensive to retake the country’s second city.”
Hundreds of thousands fleeing Mosul offensive likely to need shelter & other basic services https://t.co/uKxqP8OSCq#MosulAid via
Refugees</a> <a href="https://t.co/VhaXZVQRq6">pic.twitter.com/VhaXZVQRq6</a></p>— United Nations (UN) October 18, 2016
Amnesty’s report alleges serious human rights violations and war crimes carried out by Iraqi militias and government forces against displaced civilians.
Thousands of older boys and men are said to have been tortured, forcibly disappeared or executed.
WillIam Spindler – UN High Commissioner for Refugees
“UNHCR is stressing that residents of Mosul seeking sanctuary must not be prevented from fleeing and that they should have access to safe areas, including emergency camps located at a reasonable distance from the frontline, and free from the presence of militia.”
Rights of 1.5 mln ppl trapped in #Mosul must be protected during the military campaign, says
UNReliefChief</a> O’Brien:<a href="https://t.co/2t2eNylUDE">https://t.co/2t2eNylUDE</a> <a href="https://t.co/HNJ8BD7aeR">pic.twitter.com/HNJ8BD7aeR</a></p>— UN Geneva (UNGeneva) October 18, 2016
Amnesty’s report is based on interviews with over 470 former detainees, witnesses, the relatives of those killed,officials, and humanitarian workers.
It also highlights widespread so called ‘revenge attacks’ and discrimination faced by Sunni Arabs suspected of supporting or being complicit in ISIL’s crimes. Many were displaced during major military operations in 2016 across the country, including here in Falluja.
Protection of civilians is most important element of this operation –
RefugeesChief</a> on Mosul offensive <a href="https://t.co/d6ex3yIZkR">https://t.co/d6ex3yIZkR</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MosulAid?src=hash">#MosulAid</a> <a href="https://t.co/JwEvfuceB4">pic.twitter.com/JwEvfuceB4</a></p>— United Nations (UN) October 17, 2016
It is feared that ISIL propaganda footage allegedly showing people going about there business quite normally in Mosul on Monday could well fuel suspicions and lead to more revenge attacks like those already carried out in Fallujah.