IRAQ: Religious leaders issue joint statement in full support for victims of ISIS and their safe return

Iraq – Various religious leaders in Iraq held a meeting under the auspices of UN Special Adviser and head of the UN investigation team to promote accountability for crimes committed by ISIS, Mr. Karim Asaad Khan, and special adviser to the UN Secretary-General for the Prevention of Genocide Mr. Adama Dieng.

At the end of their meeting, the Iraqi religious leaders issued a statement condemning the violence perpetrated by ISIS as contrary to the basic principles of religious beliefs, stressing that individuals of all faiths throughout Iraq have been affected by the crimes committed by ISIS, and that support must be provided for all survivors in their quest to continue their lives within the community to which they belong.

The statement noted that religious leaders are aware of the severe suffering inflicted on Iraqi communities who have been victims of crimes of sexual and gender-based violence, and affirmed their commitment to ensuring full support for survivors of these crimes and not being exposed to any form of stigma.

The statement acknowledged the suffering of communities whose children had been abducted by ISIS, demanding that they be returned to their legal families. It also acknowledged that justice will only be done to the victims of crimes committed by ISIS by ensuring that members of the terrorist organization are held accountable for their crimes. The statement requests warranty for the return of displaced people forced to flee because of ISIS crimes.

Iraqi religious leaders also stressed the importance of exposing crimes committed by ISIS before a court of law, and pledged their commitment to seek justice, tolerance and reconciliation to prevent a renewed cause that would lead to the return of ISIS or any group like it.