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UN: Iraq violence claimed 1,420 lives last month

The U.N.'s top human rights body is being asked to investigate the alleged crimes against civilians committed by ISIS

Published: Updated:

The United Nations on Monday placed August’s death toll of violence in Iraq at more than 1,420, Agence France-Presse reported.

The number was revealed as the Human Rights Council convened in a day-long emergency session on Iraq.

The U.N.'s top human rights body has been asked to investigate the alleged crimes against civilians committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group in its rampage across northeastern Syria and northern and western Iraq, according to the Associated Press.

“Thousands continue to be targeted and killed by ISIS (Islamic State) and associated armed groupssimply on account of their ethnic or religious background ... The true cost of this human tragedy is staggering,” U.N. representative in Iraq Nickolay Mladenov said Monday.

The 47-nation council is convening the request of Iraq’s government, which proposed that the council set up a U.N. fact-finding mission to investigate alleged abuses by the group.

Such a mission would be carried out by U.N. staff, unlike the independent commissions that have been examining alleged war crimes in Syria and North Korea.

Flavia Pansieri, the U.N. deputy high commissioner for human rights, told diplomats on Monday that "systematic and intentional attacks on civilians may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity."

Earlier, the U.N. said ISIS forces are committing atrocities amounting to crimes against humanity against minorities while Iraqi government forces have executed detainees and shelled civilian areas in acts that may constitute war crimes, the United Nations said on Monday.

Pansieri said that the conflict is having a grave impact on Iraqi civilians, particularly women and children.

"Systematic and intentional attacks on civilians may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. Individuals, including commanders, are responsible for these acts," she said, referring to crimes committed by both sides.

(With AFP, AP, and Reuters)