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U.N. to investigate alleged human rights abuses by ISIS

By Ralph Ellis, CNN
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
An Iranian Kurdish female member of the Freedom Party of Kurdistan keeps a position in Dibis, Iraq, on Monday, September 15. Some of the world's top diplomats <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/15/world/meast/isis-threat/'>have pledged to support Iraq</a> in its fight against ISIS militants by "any means necessary," including "appropriate military assistance." ISIS has taken over large swaths of northern and western Iraq as it seeks to create an Islamic caliphate that stretches from Syria to Iraq. An Iranian Kurdish female member of the Freedom Party of Kurdistan keeps a position in Dibis, Iraq, on Monday, September 15. Some of the world's top diplomats have pledged to support Iraq in its fight against ISIS militants by "any means necessary," including "appropriate military assistance." ISIS has taken over large swaths of northern and western Iraq as it seeks to create an Islamic caliphate that stretches from Syria to Iraq.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Two car bombs in Baghdad kill more than a dozen people, police say
  • U.N. mission says 1,420 Iraqis killed in August; figures don't include Anbar province
  • U.N. official calls the effect of violence on children "catastrophic"
  • Ethnic and religious groups have been persecuted, official says

(CNN) -- The U.N. Human Rights Council said Monday that it will send a special mission to Iraq to investigate human rights abuses and war crimes allegedly committed by ISIS.

Iraqis have faced violence and unrest for more than a decade, but the situation has gotten worse in recent months as fighters for ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, seized sections of the country, said Flavia Pansieri, the U.N. deputy high commissioner for human rights.

"The effect of the ongoing conflict on the children of Iraq has been catastrophic," Pansieri said during an emergency session in Geneva, Switzerland. "Many have become direct victims of the conflict, while others have been subjected to physical and sexual abuse, whose scars may remain with them throughout their lives."

Mosques, shrines and other religious sites have been destroyed, and members of different ethnic and religious groups have been persecuted, she said.

"The international community must intensify its efforts to protect all Iraqis, including ethnic and religious communities and those who are particularly vulnerable," Pansieri said.

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In new violence Monday evening, at least 13 people were killed and 45 others were wounded in a double car bombing in Baghdad, police told CNN.

The car bombs that struck in quick succession targeted two commercial streets in al-Bayaa district, a predominantly Shiite area in southwestern Baghdad.

At least 1,420 Iraqis were killed and another 1,370 wounded in "acts of terrorism and violence" in August, the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq said Monday, with most of those casualties civilians.

The figures do not include Anbar province due to lack of ability to verify casualties since ISIS took over Falluja and other towns in January.

Meanwhile, U.S. Central Command reported U.S. forces conducted three airstrikes Sunday and Monday in Iraq near a key dam near Mosul.

The airstrikes destroyed three ISIS trucks, severely damaged another, destroyed an ISIS armed vehicle and destroyed a mortar position, Central Command said.

Read: What can the United States do against ISIS in Syria -- and could it work?

Exclusive: Boy, 13, witnesses beheadings

Read: Fight against ISIS: 5 key questions

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report from Baghdad.

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