“Since 23 June 2014, at least 19 Sunni civilian men have been killed and a further 19 injured in a spate of targeted killings and abductions. Many of the incidents were not reported in the media but each has been verified by UNAMI through multiple sources. In each incident the local community has expressed the view that the victims were targeted for no other reason than their faith. Authorities have listed perpetrators as “unidentified gunmen” and there have been no arrests in relation to any of the incidents”, Chief Human Rights Section in UNAMI, Mr. Francesco Motta further pointed out.
“Anonymous threats have also been issued to several mosques and a prominent Sunni organization, warning Sunnis to leave Basra or face death. In recent days, the houses of Sunni citizens in some areas of Abu Khaseeb district, Basra Governorate, have been marked with an ‘X’ and the external lights have been painted in black. As a result of these threats, many Sunnis are leaving the area”, Mr. Motta also said.
“I call upon Basra authorities, including police and security officials, to do all they can to strengthen security measures to prevent further acts or threats of violence against minorities and to publicly and unequivocally reassure Sunni citizens in southern Iraq of their safety and security”, Mr. Mladenov stated, urging those authorities to investigate these crimes and threats of violence and prosecute those responsible according to law.