The Holy See on Monday urged the UN to provide humanitarian aid to Iraq during a special session of the Human Rights Council, which chose to dispatch a mission to the nation to investigate alleged violations and abuses of international human rights. The special session of the UN Human Rights Council was held Sept. 1 and concluded with a resolution adopted without a vote, through which the Council condemned the abuse of human rights law which had taken place in Iraq, and requested the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to dispatch a mission to Iraq. The Human Rights Council’s task is that of strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and of addressing situations of human rights violations and to make recommendations on them. The Holy See had strongly promoted a special session of the Human Rights Council to discuss the Iraqi situation. In his intervention, Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations office in Geneva, called on the UN to provide aids and also underscored the special responsibility of the leaders of the different religions. Archbishop Tomasi stressed that “even prior to considerations of international humanitarian law and the law of war, and no matter the circumstances, the indispensable requirement is respect for the inviolable dignity of the human person, which is the foundation of the human rights.” The archbishop addressed the “tragic failure to uphold such basic rights,” that was evident in “the self-proclaimed destructive entity, the so-called 'Islamic State'.” “People were decapitated as they stood for their beliefs, women were violated without mercy and sold like slaves in the market, children were forced into combat, and prisoners were slaughtered against all juridical provisions,” the nuncio said. Archbishop Tomasi stressed that the Holy See “calls on all regional and international actors to explicitly condemn the brutal, barbaric, and uncivilized behavior of the criminal groups fighting in eastern Syria and northern Iraq.” The Holy See admonished the UN that “the responsibility to protect must be assumed in good faith, within the framework of international law and humanitarian law,” and that civil society cannot “become an instrument of regional and international geopolitical games.” Archbishop Tomasi urged the appropriate UN agencies to provide “adequate humanitarian aid, food, water, medicine and shelter” to “those are fleeing violence,” but it also underscored that this aid “should be temporary emergency assistance.” “The forcibly displaced Christians, Yazidis and other groups have the right to return to their homes, receive assistance for the rebuilding of their houses and places of worship and live in safety,” the nuncio said. Archbishop Tomasi also maintained that “blocking the flow of arms and the underground oil market, as well as any indirect political support of the so-called Islamic State group, will help to put an end to violence.” At the same time, “perpetrators of these crimes against humanity must be pursued with determination. They must not be allowed to act with impunity, thereby risking the repetition of the atrocities that have been committed by the so-called Islamic State group.” The Holy See’s call to action was shared by the 47 members of the Human Rights Council. The council adopted a resolution in which “it requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Right sto urgently dispatch a mission to Iraq to investigate the alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law committed by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and associate terrorist groups, and to establish facts and circumstances of such abuses and violations, with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring full accountability,” a UN release reads. The resolution was adopted without a vote. The council also condemned “with the strongest possible terms systematic violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law resulting from the terrorist acts committed by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and thee associate groups.”
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