UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Thursday condemned attacks on ethnic minorities in northern Iraq by the Islamic State (IS) insurgent group, where some 50,000 people were forced out of their homes.
The council said in a statement that those responsible will be held accountable, and urged international support to the Iraqi government.
The statement was read at the end of closed-door consultations among the 15 council members by British UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, whose country is holding the rotating council presidency this month.
The statement was issued as the United States was airdropping supplies to assist thousands of trapped minorities in northern Iraq, and U.S. President Barack Obama authorized targeted airstrikes to prevent a "genocide" by Islamist extremists.
"The members of the Security Council condemn the attacks in Iraq's Ninewa Province, including Sinjar and Tal Afar, by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and again express their deep outrage about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis -- many of them from vulnerable minority communities, especially Yezidis and Christians -- displaced by ISIL's attacks and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance," the statement said.
"Widespread or systematic attacks directed against any civilian populations because of their ethnic background, political grounds, religion or belief may constitute a crime against humanity, for which those responsible must be held accountable," said the statement.
Council members also urged "all parties to stop human rights violations and abuses, ensure humanitarian access, and facilitate the delivery of assistance to those fleeing violence," it said.
Tens of thousands of refugees fled into the mountains, perhaps hoping to reach the Kurdish region in northern Iraq, but were trapped because of militant activity between the mountain and the Kurdish area, and were running short of food and water.
Shortly after the statement was read, Iraqi UN Ambassador Mohamed Alhakim told reporters that "immediate humanitarian help for the northern side of Iraq" was needed.
Asked if there had been any allied airstrikes against the IS, Alhakim said, "There is none today. There is some communication between Baghdad and Washington on that issue. There are no strikes being done yet."
Speaking to reporters after the consultations, Lyall Grant said Britain was drafting a resolution for the Security Council on this issue.
"There was deep alarm in the Security Council about the speed of events and a feeling that this required an immediate response from the Security Council," he said.
"In terms of a substantive response, the immediate need is humanitarian and practical support for Iraq's efforts, including on air drops," he said. "There was also a view that there needed to be action on the political dynamic because they (Iraqis) need to form a government in Baghdad as soon as possible and also wider efforts to confront the threat to Iraq and the region."
WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama is considering airstrikes or airdrops of food and medicine to help Iraqis trapped in a mountain by Islamic militants, U.S. media reported on Thursday.Full story