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Islamic State War Crimes in Iraq being Investigated: UN Team

The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to establish an investigative team to help Iraq secure evidence of atrocities committed by Islamic State militants "that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide

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Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk toward the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh of Al-Hasakah Governorate (voa)
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Iraq, September 22, 2017: The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to establish an investigative team to help Iraq secure evidence of atrocities committed by Islamic State militants “that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”

Britain, which drafted the resolution, said the team would bring some justice to those who had experienced atrocities at the hands of IS, variously known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, called the resolution “a landmark” that would “provide an indispensable record of the scope and scale” of IS atrocities.

“This means justice for those people who have been victimized by ISIS,” Nadia Murad, a former IS captive in Iraq, said in a Facebook Live video after attending the council vote with well-known international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

ISLAMIC STATE
Yazidi survivor and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human trafficking Nadia Murad, center, visits her village for the first time after being captured and sold as a slave by the Islamic State three years ago, in Kojo, Iraq, (VOA)

Clooney represents women of Iraq’s Yazidi minority who were kidnapped and held as sex slaves by IS militants after the terrorist organization conquered large swaths of Iraq in mid-2014.

“It’s a huge milestone for all of those who’ve been fighting for justice for victims of crimes committed by ISIS,” Clooney said in the Facebook Live video. “It says to victims that their voices will be heard and they may finally get their day in court.”

Since then, U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have driven IS from most of the land it had seized in Iraq, retaking all the major urban areas, although the group still controls some pockets in Iraq as well as territory in Syria.

ALSO READ UN Human Rights Chief Urges Iraqi Government to help Victims of Islamic State (ISIS) Sex Abuse

IS fighters have been on the run in Iraq since U.S.-backed Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul, Iraq’s second city and the Islamic State’s former stronghold capital, in July.

Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled the August 2014 massacre in Sinjar, and U.N. rights investigations have documented horrific accounts of abuse suffered by women and girls, such as Murad. About 3,000 women are believed to remain in IS captivity.

But Human Rights Watch criticized the resolution as a missed opportunity by the council “to address war crimes and rights abuses by all sides to the conflict in Iraq.”

“No one denies the importance of tackling the widespread atrocities by ISIS in Iraq, but ignoring abuses by Iraqi and international forces is not only flawed, it’s shortsighted,” said Balkees Jarrah, senior international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch. “The pursuit of justice is essential to all victims who saw their loved ones tortured and killed, or houses burned and bombed, regardless of who is responsible.” (VOA)

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Facebook Hires A Human Rights Director Ahead Of Facing Criticism

The new role will include working with product teams to ensure that the company is a positive force for human rights and apply the lessons learnt from investigations.

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Facebook dating app now in testing phase. Pixabay

 Facing human rights violation allegations over the misuse of its platform by the Myanmar government to fuel atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim minority, social networking giant Facebook has announced the hiring of a human rights policy director.

The social media firm’s new director would help promote peace, human freedoms and build strong communities while simultaneously crack down those who “enable harm, stifle expression and undermine human rights”, the networking giant said in a post on its website on Saturday.

“We are looking for a Director of Human Rights Policy to coordinate our company-wide effort to address human rights abuses, including by both state and non-state actors,” it added.

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Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. VOA

Six organisations, including the UN, have blasted the site for taking over a year to respond to misinformation that helped fuel the “genocide” of Rohingya in Myanmar, the Engadget reported.

According to Facebook, the new role will include working with product teams to ensure that the company is a positive force for human rights and apply the lessons learnt from investigations.

The person would represent Facebook with key stakeholders in civil society, government, international institutions and industry.

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A Facebook start page is shown on a smartphone in Surfside, Florida. Aug. 21, 2018. The social media giant Facebook said late Wednesday Aug. 22, 2018, it has banned a quiz app for refusing to be audited and concerns that data on as many as 4 million users was misused, after it found user information was shared with researchers and companies. VOA

He or she will also need to craft policies to counteract bad actors and ensure that Facebook continues to operate its platforms consistent with human rights principles, the post noted.

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The future director should have over 12 years of experience in public policy, human rights, conflict prevention, freedom of expression and technology.

He or she must also have an advanced degree in public policy, foreign relations or law degree, the post said. (IANS)