Despite Gains, Iraq Faces Vast Challenges Against ISIL: UN Chief

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday said that despite recent military gains against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), "vast challenges" remain as the Government of Iraq fights to consolidate its territorial integrity against the terrorist threat.

The Secretary-General's remarks were made while speaking to reporters during an unannounced visit to Baghdad.

Ban said the people of Iraq had suffered "unconscionable levels of casualties" as a result of ISIL's advance across the country which has caused the displacement of over 2.5 million people and the destruction of Iraq's cultural heritage.

The UN Chief called for additional humanitarian resources in order to save lives in Iraq's conflict-ridden areas. "The threat of additional and secondary displacement during ongoing military operations may overwhelm local and international capacities," he warned.

He added that alleged violations or abuses of human rights must also be investigated and perpetrators need to be held to account.

A report by the UN human rights office (OHCHR) recently found that ISIL, also known as Daesh, has committed widespread abuses throughout territories under its control in both Iraq and Syria, some of which may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Compiled by investigators sent to the region last year by OHCHR, the report highlights violations, including killings, torture, rape and sexual slavery, forced religious conversions and the conscription of children.

Iraqi forces are currently engaged with ISIL fighters outside the city of Tikrit, just north of Baghdad, amid a series of military successes which appear to have put the terrorist group on the back heel.

Ban also touched on the oil and revenue-sharing between Iraq's regions, highlighting the importance of partnership between Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan region. He said it was "crucial" in addressing the country's security and financial crises, stressing that disagreements between Iraq's regional constituents be resolved within the framework of the country's Constitution.

For comments and feedback contact: editorial@rttnews.com

Political News

Follow RTT