New UN rights chief urges world to protect civilians in Iraq, Syria

September 8, 2014 10:56

GENEVA - The new UN human rights chief called on Monday for the world to protect women and religious and ethnic minorities targeted by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria which he said were "increasingly conjoined conflicts".

Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, Jordan's former UN ambassador, in a hard-hitting maiden speech to the UN Human Rights Council, warned that any state run by Islamic State, also known as ISIS, "would be a harsh, mean-spirited, house of blood".

"In particular, dedicated efforts are urgently needed to protect religious and ethnic groups, children - who are at risk of forcible recruitment and sexual violence - and women, who have been the targets of severe restrictions," Zeid told the Geneva forum.

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