Ban: “The so-called ‘Islamic State’ is a threat to Iraq, Syria and the region,”

NEW YORK (CIHAN)- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned about the dire situation facing civilians in Iraq and Syria as a result of the threat posted by the Islamic State (IS).
“The people of Iraq – all the people of Iraq – need security. Yet the poison of hatred and brutality is spreading. The so-called ‘Islamic State’ is a threat to Iraq, Syria and the region,” Ban said.

Addressing reporters today (12 Aug) in New York, the Secretary-General said that he was “profoundly dismayed” by the “barbaric acts” of the armed group, “including accounts of summary executions, boys forcibly taken from their homes to fight, girls abducted or trafficked as sex slaves.”

Ban also welcomed the designation of Haider al-Abbadi as the Iraq’s Primer Minister yesterday and encouraged the newly elected leader to form a broad-based government acceptable to all sectors of Iraqi society.

On the Gaza Strip, the UN chief welcomed the recent achievement of a 72-hour ceasefire but underscored the need for the parties to reach a durable truce soon.

Ban pointed out that there are more than 300,000 people still seeking shelter in UNRWA and private schools, as well as in public facilities. He noted that at least 100,000 people have had their homes destroyed or severely damaged.

The Secretary-General acknowledged Israel’s right to protect its citizens from rocket attacks by Hamas, but noted that “the fighting has raised serious questions about Israel’s respect for the principles of distinction and proportionality.” Ban emphasized that “militant activity does not justify jeopardizing the lives and safety of many thousands of innocent civilians” and reminded that he has called for an investigation into the shelling of UN facilities in the Gaza Strip.

Asked about the lack of effectiveness of the United Nations to mediate the crisis in the Middle East, he pointed out “the lack of will of the parties concerned.” Ban said that “they have not been listening to the voices of the international community and concerns raised by myself, as a Secretary-General and many world leaders in the region and around the world. They simply have not listened to those voices of reason and they have not cared [about] their own people.”

The Secretary-General noted the lack of concern of the partied involved for the wellbeing of civilians and underscored that the end of the ceasefire is approaching. “In the name of protecting their own people, they have been letting their people being killed by others. Is that what they have to do? Therefore, this is almost the last chance for them.”