Switzerland is extremely concerned about the attacks against civilians in Iraq, particularly minorities and women

Bern, Press release, 22.07.2014

Switzerland is extremely concerned about the serious violations of international law committed by members of the "Islamic State" in Iraq and in Syria. These violations may even constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes. In the face of such alarming facts and allegations, the international community cannot remain indifferent.

The FDFA condemns in the strongest possible terms the serious and systematic discrimination that religious minorities are subjected to by members of the "Islamic State" group and armed groups associated with it, both in Iraq and in Syria. The forced removal of Christians from Mosul is unacceptable, as are the abuses committed against other minorities, such as the Turkomans, the Yazidi and the Shabak. Switzerland reiterates that widespread or systematic attacks against civilians can constitute crimes against humanity. What is more, in this case the abuses are based on religious or ethnic discrimination.

The FDFA also condemns cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment to which women in particular are being subjected. Switzerland stresses that stonings and crucifixions are serious human rights violations. All parties to the conflict, including members of the "Islamic State" group and associated groups, must respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians.

Urgent measures must be taken to ensure that those suspected of having committed the most serious crimes, such as crimes against humanity and war crimes, are prosecuted.

The FDFA applauds the efforts currently being undertaken by the Iraqi authorities, including the authorities of the Kurdish region, to provide shelter for internally displaced persons. It encourages the political actors to redouble their efforts to re-establish the rule of law and respect for human rights in Iraq in a manner that enables all citizens to take their rightful place without discrimination.

Nothing, not even past violations committed by the Iraqi authorities, can justify the current descent into violence.

Switzerland reaffirms that international borders and the territorial unity of Iraq as well as of Syria must be respected. Both countries must again become pluralist societies and must allow all segments of the population to live together in a climate of security and mutual respect. Lastly, the FDFA underscores how important it is to also protect both countries' important historical, cultural and religious heritage against vandalism and illegal trade.

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47
E-Mail: info@eda.admin.ch


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs