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UN to send team to investigate ISIL crimes in Iraq

GENEVA: The United Nations agreed on Monday to send investigators to Iraq to examine crimes being committed by Islamic State militants on “an unimaginable scale”, with a view to holding perpetrators to account.

“We are facing a terrorist monster,” Iraq’s human rights minister, Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani, told the U.N. Human Rights Council which adopted a resolution tabled by Iraq and France at an emergency sitting of the 47-member state forum in Geneva.

The Council aims to send 11 investigators, with a total budget of $1.18 million, to report back by March 2015.

Islamic State, which declared a “caliphate” in June in parts of Iraq and Syria under its control, has been cited as a major security threat by Western governments since posting a video in August of the beheading of U.S journalist James Foley.

The Sunni militants have driven more than 1.2 million people from their homes this year, the United Nations says. At least 1,420 people were killed in sectarian violence in Iraq in August alone, U.N. figures showed on Monday.

U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri said there was “strong evidence” Islamic State, also known as ISIL, and allied groups had carried out targeted killings, forced conversions, sexual abuse and torture in Iraq.

“The reports we have received reveal acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale,” she said.

ETHNIC CLEANSING

Pansieri voiced concern at the persecution of Christians, Yazidis, Shia, and Turkmen, saying such “ethnic and religious cleansing” may amount to crimes against humanity.

Children belonging to targeted minorities have been forcibly recruited and positioned on front lines to shield fighters or made to donate blood, she said. Women are beaten for breaking rules requiring them to be veiled and escorted by men- Reuters

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