The new U.N. human rights chief has called for the protection of women and children targeted by Islamic State militants.
In a hard-hitting speech Monday in Geneva, Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al Hussein said any country run by Islamic State militants “would be a harsh, mean-spirited, house of blood.”
The Islamic State group has taken over large parts of of eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq as it seeks to impose an Islamic caliphate without regard to national borders.
Zeid told the U.N. Human Rights Council “dedicated efforts are urgently needed” to protect children “who are at risk of forcible recruitment and sexual violence” and woman who have been the “targets of severe restrictions.”
The career diplomat said the “brute violence against ethnic and religious groups” by the Islamic militants, including massacres, rapes and torture is “unprecedented in recent times.”
On another subject, Zeid called for an end to Israel’s seven-year blockade of Gaza.
He said Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank deserve to lead a normal life free of illegal settlements and what he called excessive use of force.
Zeid, Jordan’s former U.N. ambassador, is the first Muslim and Arab to serve as the U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights.