UN Rights Office Condemns Destruction of Armenian Holy Sites as ISIL Terror Continues

UN Rights Office Condemns Destruction of Armenian Holy Sites as ISIL Terror Continues –

The United Nations human rights office on Friday expressed concern about the continuing wave of destruction unleashed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) amid reports that the terrorist group has targeted and destroyed a number of religious buildings in areas under its control.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had earlier reported about ISIL the militants violent act that led to the destruction of the Armenian church in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor in mid-September (as part of an ongoing campaign of violence and terror which has seen the group also blow up mosques, shrines and damage churches in northern Iraq).

“We condemn the destruction of the church and of other religious institutions,” OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville told a news briefing in Geneva.

“We stress that religious personnel and buildings dedicated to religion enjoy specific protection under international humanitarian law and must be respected and protected by all parties.”

Mr Colville also highlighted his agency’s concern about the safety of three clergymen suspected to have been captured by the militant group. Both the Syriac Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Archbishops of Aleppo, Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, were abducted in Aleppo in April 2013 while Paolo Dall’Oglio, a Catholic priest, went missing in Ar Raqqah city in January. Their whereabouts remain unknown.

In a report jointly produced by OHCHR and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and released yesterday, the UN describes a host of serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross abuses of human rights perpetrated by ISIL and associated armed groups, including “attacks directly targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, executions and other targeted killings of civilians, abductions, rape and other forms of sexual and physical violence perpetrated against women and children, forced recruitment of children, destruction or desecration of places of religious or cultural significance, wanton destruction and looting of property, and denial of fundamental freedoms.”

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