U.N. Rights Boss Warns of ‘House of Blood’ in Iraq, Syria

(Reuters) -

The new U.N. human rights chief urged world powers on Monday to protect women and minorities targeted by Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria, saying the fighters were trying to create a “house of blood”.

Jordan’s Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, the first Muslim to hold the position, called for the international community to focus on ending the “increasingly conjoined” conflict in the two countries, and abuses in other hotspots.

Islamic State’s Sunni Muslim fighters have overrun large parts of Syria and Iraq since June, declaring a cross-border caliphate. The U.N. Human Rights Council last week agreed to send a team to investigate killings and other abuses carried out by the group on “an unimaginable scale.”

Zeid, Jordan’s former U.N. ambassador and a Jordanian prince, described Islamic State as “takfiris” – hardline Sunni militants who justify killing others by branding them apostates.

“It would be a harsh, mean-spirited house of blood, where no shade would be offered, nor shelter given, to any non-Takfiri in their midst,” Zeid added. He called on Iraq to consider joining the International Criminal Court.

The ambassadors of Iraq and Syria called for combating “terrorist groups” in their homelands and for halting the flow of weapons and funds to Islamist terrorists.