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UN Security Council slams IS for persecuting minorities in Iraq

Posted on Jul 22 2014 | IANS

United Nations, July 22 : The UN Security Council Tuesday condemned the persecution of minorities in Iraq by the extremist group Islamic State (IS) and warned that such acts may constitute a crime against humanity.

"The members of the Security Council express their deep concern over reports of threats against religious and ethnic minorities in Mosul and other parts of Iraq controlled by Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIL) (now known as IS), including the recent ultimatum to Christians to either leave the city, stay and pay a tribute, convert to Islam, or face imminent execution," the 15-member council said in a statement.

The UN body also voiced its concern about reports that these minorities, along with anyone who opposes IS's extremist ideology, are facing abductions, killings or the destruction of their property.

The statement follows the remarks by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Monday who was "particularly disturbed" by reports of threats against Christians in Mosul and other IS-controlled parts of Iraq.

"Terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilisation," the Council stressed.

The members countries also called on all political entities to overcome divisions in Iraq and urged them to work together in an inclusive political process to strengthen Iraq's national unity.

Hundreds of Christian families and individuals fled their homes in the militant-seized city of Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, by Saturday afternoon, a deadline declared earlier by the IS militant group for the minority to convert to Islam, leave the city, pay tax or die.

IS, formerly ISIS, is not formally recognised as a state and is viewed as a rebel group.

It is composed of Sunni insurgent groups and was thought to have significant ties to Al Qaeda.

But the latter formally dissociated itself from IS in February.

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