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UN rights chief: Civilians fleeing Fallujah face severe abuse from ISIS and Iraqi Forces

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United Nations: The United Nations human rights chief said that the civilians trying to flee the siege of Fallujah are facing extreme abuse and even death at the hands of Shia armed groups allied with the government troops. It is “extremely distressing, credible reports”.

The human rights chief urged the Iraqi Government to take immediate measures to ensure that all people who are fleeing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-occupied city of Fallujah are treated in strict accordance with international human rights and international humanitarian laws.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said in a news release that. “There are extremely distressing, credible reports that some people who survive the terrifying experience of escaping from ISIL, then face severe physical abuse once they reach the other side.”

He added. “Eyewitnesses have described how armed groups operating in support of the Iraqi security forces are intercepting people fleeing the conflict, separating the men and teenage boys from the women and children, and detaining the males for ‘security screening’, which in some cases degenerates into physical violations and other forms of abuse, apparently in order to elicit forced confessions. There are even allegations that some individuals have been summarily executed by these armed groups.”

“Where individuals are being held by other armed groups not legally authorised to detain individuals, the Government must ensure they are either handed over or released safely,” he stressed. “It is paramount that all individuals fleeing the violence around Fallujah must be assumed to be civilians without links to armed groups, unless there is clear and cogent evidence to the contrary.”

Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that they have received reports that at least 21 males had been summarily executed. He said. “We can’t confirm the reports but they seem to be credible.”

According to the Mr. Zeid’s Office ( OHCHR), Fallujah was captured in January 2014 by ISIL, since then at least 22,169 civilians have been killed and 43,435 wounded in Iraq. These casualty figures are said to be considered as an absolute minimum as they do not include Anbar Province, where Fallujah is located, and also do not include people who died from secondary effects of violence, such as lack of water, food, medicines or health care.

According to the officials, in a separate attacks, a car bomb in Iraqi city of Karbala killed at least 10 civilians and wounded 26 others on Tuesday.

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