15 August 2014
UN declares Iraq ‘Level 3 Emergency’, states urged to do more to help Iraqi civilians
The UN has designated its highest level emergency for the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, citing the scale and complexity of the situation, which is impacting tens of thousands of people that have been forcefully displaced by the armed group, Islamic State (IS). The ‘Level 3 Emergency’ designation will ‘facilitate mobilization of additional resources in goods, funds and assets to ensure a more effective response to the humanitarian needs of populations affected by forced displacements’. UN officials are particularly concerned about the situation on Sinjar Mountain, where are at least several thousand people remain trapped and the health conditions are quickly deteriorating.
There are only three other countries that share a Level 3 emergency status: Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Syria. On behalf of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Kieran Dwyer said that ‘Humanitarian organizations, in a time that there are so many crises, have to be able to prioritize’. ‘It means that when we make decisions about rapidly mobilizing staffing and resources… Iraq is right up there in the top priority for immediate emergency action now.’ The decision to raise the level was made by a coordinating body comprised of UN representatives and non-governmental organisations. The support of the international community and the commitment of the regional authorities are ‘extraordinary’, he said, but more needs to be done to provide the displaced people with the protection and the shelter they urgently need.
According to a spokesperson, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson recognised the serious plight of religious minorities in Iraq at the hands of so-called Islamic State forces. He assured that the UN is now taking urgent humanitarian action. He also underlined the need for global solidarity and support to address the needs of these afflicted communities.
Special Advisors to the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and on the Responsibility to Protect, Jennifer Welsh, condemned in the strongest terms the reported execution by the Islamic State of some 500 Yazidi community members in Sinjar and the surrounding areas. They also express alarm at reports of the abduction of some 1,500 Yezidi, Christian and Shabak women and girls. The Special Advisors added that such acts constitute grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, and potentially genocide.
Source: UN News Centre | UN declares Iraq ‘Level 3 Emergency’ to trigger more resources, speed up aid delivery
Source: UN News Centre | Amid spread of ‘hatred and brutality,’ Ban urges countries to do more to help Iraqi civilians