Human Rights Organizitaions Warn Anti-IS Forces About Weapon Choice in Mosul
Human Rights Organizations Warn Anti-IS Forces About Weapon Choice in Mosul
The forces engaged in the anti-Islamic State (IS) battle ongoing in western Mosul must take the high risk of civilian casualties into consideration and should cease using explosive weapons with wide area effects, international humanitarian and human rights organizations warned on Thursday.
“ISIS [Islamic State] has been forcibly displacing thousands people into the zones of conflict and using them as human shields,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Director of Research at Amnesty International. “Iraqi and coalition forces must take all possible measures to protect civilians, otherwise we risk witnessing a bloodbath in Mosul’s Old City.”
After losing a vast area in central Mosul, IS is now in control of a small territory in the west of Mosul, but is has reportedly displaced 200,000 civilians in the two-square-kilometer area in Mosul’s Old City, using them as human shields, according to the United Nations.
The groups expressing concern are Airwars, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), and War Child.
“The use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects such as air-dropped bombs of 500lbs and above, which have been used in the context of the operation, in densely populated civilian areas of western Mosul may be resulting in civilian casualties and damage to civilian objects that is excessive to the anticipated military objectives of the strikes. Such disproportionate military attacks are prohibited under international humanitarian law,” reads a statement by the Amnesty International.
“All parties to the conflict are prohibited under the laws of war from conducting deliberate attacks against civilians or civilian objects, indiscriminate, or disproportionate attacks.
Indiscriminate attacks are attacks that strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction.An attack is disproportionate if it may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life or damage to civilian objects that would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the attack.”