GENEVA, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Many people who have suffered two and a half years of living hell under the Islamic State (IS) are probably now facing double jeopardy in the form of serious human rights violations after they have escaped Fallujah alive, a UN official warned here on Tuesday.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Tuesday urged the Iraqi government to take immediate measures to ensure all people fleeing the ISIL-occupied city of Fallujah are treated in strict accordance with international human rights and humanitarian laws.
"There are extremely distressing, credible reports that some people who survive the terrifying experience of escaping from IS then face severe physical abuse once they reach the other side," the High Commissioner said.
"Eyewitnesses have described how armed groups operating in support of the Iraqi security forces are intercepting people fleeing the conflict, and there are even allegations that some individuals have been summarily executed by these armed groups," he added.
According to the UN official, it is paramount all individuals fleeing the violence around Fallujah must be assumed to be civilians without links to armed groups, unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.
The latest UN figures showed that since January 2014, when Fallujah was captured by the IS, at least 22,169 civilians have been killed and 43,435 wounded in Iraq.
These casualty figures are considered an absolute minimum as they do not include Anbar Province, where Fallujah is located, nor do they include people who died from the secondary effects of violence, such as lack of water, food, medicine, or health care.