June 18th, 2014

Baroness Cox asks for an assessment of the situation in the city of Mosul, Iraq in the House of Lords.

On the 17th June, Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their assessment of the situation in the city of Mosul following its capture by Islamic militant members of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS); and of the safety of those who have fled the city”.

The Senior Minister of State, Baroness Warsi, responded that “the city of Mosul was attacked by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other armed groups, and is no longer under the control of the Iraqi authorities. Fighting continues between these groups and the Iraqi security forces across parts of northern and western Iraq. Around 500,000 persons are reported displaced. The UK has announced £3 million of assistance to support immediate humanitarian needs.”

Baroness Cox responded by asking for further information on how Her Majesty’s Government was able to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to civilians stranded whilst attempting to flee the cities of Mosul and Tikrit to the rural Nineveh Plain and to the border crossings with Kurdistan, and all those in need. She also asked for the Minister’s assessment of assessment of “reports of the ruthlessness of atrocities, including beheadings and crucifixions perpetrated by ISIS against Christians and Muslims”. Baroness Warsi replied that the embassy is working with the Iraqi human rights commission to get a better assessment of the atrocities that are being committed on the ground.

A number of peers including Lord Howell, Baroness Symons, Baroness Nicholson, Lord Alton and Lord Bach joined the discussion to address the violence committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and the UK response to the current situation. Lord Howell stated that it is “imperative to get a united front by all the powers in the region” and that “we are well placed to bring about and help this co-operation and halt all the horror”.

Baroness Warsi highlighted that “the matter has to be led by the Iraqi Government… Much of what we see in terms of tensions between communities is because communities within Iraq feel excluded from the decision-making process. Of course, countries in the region have an incredibly important role to play. It is also important to distinguish between the fact that, of course, there is a Sunni-Shia dimension to these disturbances, but not all aspects of the Sunni community support ISIL.”

Lord Bach recounted the words of Ban Ki-moon from earlier in the day: “There is a real risk of further sectarian violence on a massive scale, within Iraq and beyond its borders”. Baroness Warsi praised the Government on their emergency humanitarian response and made assurances that the situation in northern Iraq is under constant review.

You can read the full text of the debate here.


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