GENEVA, 11th November, 2016 (WAM)–UN News Centre: A top United Nations human rights official, has called for immediate action to ensure that the rights and the needs of victims and survivors are met – including the need for justice, truth and reconciliation.

The remarks follow reports of mass graves and further evidence of sexual exploitation, torture and killings, child recruitment and other grave human rights abuses committed by Daesh extremists in Iraq.

“The extent of civilian suffering in Mosul and other Daesh-occupied areas in Iraq is numbing and intolerable,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a news release issued today, citing heartbreaking images of children being forced to carry out executions, stories of women being ‘redistributed’ among Daesh fighters, of killings for possession of SIM cards, and killings of those perceived to be opposed to Daesh’s takfiri doctrines.

He also cited the forced displacement of tens of thousands of civilians and their exploitation as human shields, and then the risk of reprisals against these long-suffering women, men and children for their perceived support of Daesh.

“Justice for the victims and survivors of human rights abuses and violations – irrespective of when, where or by whom such abuses and violations were committed – needs to be impartial, transparent and effective,” he said, urging the Government of Iraq to act quickly to restore effective law enforcement in areas retaken from Daesh to ensure that captured fighters and their perceived supporters are dealt with according to the law.

“This is crucial to limit the opportunity for revenge attacks and collective punishments,” he added.

Zeid said it is equally important that formal justice is supported by actions that promote community reconciliation, such as truth-telling and restorative justice, including the provision of medical and psycho-social services, housing, education and other financial support which may assist people in rebuilding their lives and their communities.

“The people of Iraq – all the people of Iraq – must see that their State, by its actions, is capable of protecting them by bringing to justice those guilty of the horrible crimes that have been committed against them,” he said.

Daesh appears to be continuing to carry out killings based on decisions of its self-appointed ‘courts’. On Tuesday, Daesh reportedly shot and killed 40 civilians in Mosul city after accusing them of ‘treason and collaboration’ with the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The victims were dressed in orange clothes marked in red with the words: ‘traitors and agents of the ISF.’ Their bodies were then hung on electrical poles in several areas in Mosul city.

Also on Wednesday, Daesh deployed what it calls the “sons of the caliphate” in the alleys of the old town of Mosul, wearing explosive belts. We are concerned that these may be teenagers and young boys. Daesh also posted a video on Wednesday showing four children, believed to be between 10 and 14 years old, shooting to death four people for spying for the ISF and the Peshmerga. The video shows the victims falling into the river nearby.

Since 27 October, Daesh has been relocating abducted women, including Yezidi women, into Mosul city and into Tel Afar town. Some of these women were reportedly “distributed” to Daesh fighters while others have been told they will be used to accompany Daesh convoys.

“What is clear is that many more mass killings took place in Hamam al-Alil and other locations, with victims’ bodies dumped at various locations, including a cement factory yard, the Tigris River and also reportedly at Mosul airport and in the Tal-al-Zahab area of Mosul District,” Zeid said.