IL Newswire

Mosul: Protection of Civilians Paramount as ISIL Intensifies Use of Human Shields


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Tuesday deplored the massive loss of civilian lives in west Mosul in recent days, victims of actions by ISIL and of airstrikes.

Bodies continue to be found in buildings where civilians were reportedly held by ISIL as human shields, and were subsequently killed by airstrikes conducted by Iraqi Security Forces and International Coalition forces, as well as by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) allegedly planted in the same buildings by ISIL. Numerous other civilians have been killed by shelling and have been gunned down by ISIL snipers as they tried to flee.

“ISIL’s strategy of using children, men and women to shield themselves from attack is cowardly and disgraceful. It breaches the most basic standards of human dignity and morality. Under international humanitarian law, the use of human shields amounts to a war crime,” High Commissioner Zeid said. 

He stressed how vital it is for "the Iraqi Security Forces and their Coalition partners to review how their procedures comply with their obligations under the international humanitarian law principle of precautions, and consider all tactical options available with a view to avoiding civilian loss of life and, in any event, reducing the impact of operations on the civilian population to an absolute minimum.”

Originally posted by the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.