‘We are deeply concerned about the escalating conflict in Iraq. The need for emergency relief in Iraq is acute and requires immediate action. The most pressing needs are for food, water, shelter, healthcare supplies and the implementation of measures to protect the civilian population. Norway will provide NOK 60 million in humanitarian support to the victims of the conflict,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
‘The attack by the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Iraq’s second largest city Mosul has forced 500 000 people to flee their homes. Some 300 000 of these have fled to the Kurdish region in northern Iraq,’ Mr Brende said.
According to initial UN estimates, the number of internally displaced people could soon rise to one million if the conflict spreads to other large cities. Even before ISIL launched its military attack on Mosul, and other Iraqi cities, nearly half a million people had been displaced in Anbar province as a result of the local conflict between ethnic and religious groups.
‘It is crucial that the parties fully respect the rules established under international humanitarian law on protection of civilians and on ensuring full access for humanitarian aid. International humanitarian law also sets out clear rules relating to the treatment of prisoners. If the reports of mass executions in Iraq are correct, this could be classified as a crime against humanity,’ Mr Brende said.
The UN has launched an appeal for USD 105 million in emergency relief for Iraq. So far, only 14 % of this amount has been provided. The UN is now carrying out new needs analyses and a more comprehensive appeal is expected shortly.
Humanitarian support provided by Norway will be channelled through the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and NGOs, which have an established presence in Iraq and are thus able to ensure that emergency relief can quickly reach those who need it.