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U.N. concerned about rights abuses in Iraq

The militants have opened prisons and armed former inmates.

By Ed Adamczyk

UNITED NATIONS, June 13 (UPI) -- With Sunni militants heading for Baghdad after capturing several strategic Iraqi cities, the United Nations noted the causalities and human rights abuses thus far.

The U.N. repeated its support of the Iraqi government and its efforts to contain fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as Mosul, Tikrit and Baiji have fallen to insurgents this week. The Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Iraq, Nikolay Mladenov, met yesterday with Osama Nujeifi, speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, and expressed serious concerns about the situation throughout the nation.

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At least 500,000 people in Iraq have been displaced by the fighting.

The U.N.'s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, said in a statement she was disturbed by reports ISIS forces, "including prisoners they had released from jails in Mosul and provided with arms, have been actively seeking out, and in some cases killing, soldiers, police and others, including civilians, whom they perceive as being associated with the government."

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Her spokesman, Rupert Colville, listed atrocities committed in Iraq, including the executions of 17 civilians working for the Mosul police and the executions of 12 more believed to have been working in Mosul for Iraqi security services. Colville also mentioned reports of four women who committed suicide after being raped or forced into marriage to insurgents.

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In addition, Pillay's office noted six prison guards were killed by former prisoners in Tikrit, 16 Georgians employed in Tikrit were kidnapped, and about 30 civilians died in artillery attacks by the Iraqi Army.

At least 300,000 civilians have left the Mosul area to seek refuge in the Kurdistan part of Iraq in the past week alone, and U.N. and other non-governmental organization officials described the situation as a widening humanitarian crisis.

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"Insecurity is spreading across the whole of Iraq and we foresee a protracted humanitarian crisis," said Mandie Alexander of the International Organization for Migration in a statement. "It is getting worse by the hour and we do not have the necessary funding to respond adequately."

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