(Baghdad, 31 August 2016): The UN is deeply worried by reports that child recruitment is taking place in at least one displacement camp in Iraq and that boys are reportedly being transported to areas near the frontlines, possibly to join armed groups that will fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). “Involving children in fighting is totally unacceptable,” said Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq. “We are deeply concerned by the reports that this is happening.”
The UN is also deeply concerned by reports of mass graves of thousands of civilian victims in areas of Iraq formerly under the control of ISIL.
“Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of civilians during the conflict. The battle to retake Mosul is likely to start soon. Hundreds of thousands of civilians will almost certainly be at risk. Everybody has to do everything possible to ensure they live and receive the assistance they need,” said Ms. Grande.
International humanitarian law (IHL) obliges all parties to the conflict to refrain from recruiting minors or using them to take part in hostilities. IHL also requires parties to ensure that civilians are protected and allowed to leave conflict zones safely.
“Under no circumstances can civilians be used as human shields,” said Ms. Grande. “This violates all principles of humanity.”
The humanitarian community in Iraq issued a Flash Appeal in July urgently requesting US$284 million to prepare for the Mosul operation. To date, less than 20 percent of this amount has been raised.
Humanitarian partners are also seeking funding for their 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan which provides assistance for 7.3 million Iraqis. To date, partners have received only 53 percent of the US$861 million they require for on-going operations.
For further information, please contact:
Philippe Kropf, Communications Officer, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Iraq, (firstname.lastname@example.org / +964 (0)751 1352875)
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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