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UN: Civilians in Iraq must be protected


08-09-2014 17:41 BJT

As tens of thousands of civilians in northern Iraq flee their homes because of the crumbling security situation, the United Nations has urged the Islamic State militants to stop attacks on civilians.

"Widespread or systematic attacks directed against any civilian population because of their ethnic background, religion or belief may constitute a crime against humanity. All parties, including ISIL and associated armed groups, must abide by international humanitarian law, including the obligation to protect the civilian population," said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson of Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Shamdasani was speaking as fighters from the Islamic State marched on the Kurdish region’s capital of Erbil. The International Organization for Migration says over one million people are now displaced in locations across Iraq.

More than half of them have fled their homes since June. An official from the World Food Program said the organization is concerned about the living conditions of these refugees, as people are now in urgent need of water, food and shelter.

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