In an August 25, 2014 statement, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the “appalling, widespread, and systematic deprivation of human rights” by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The violations mentioned included targeted killings, forced conversions, abductions, trafficking of women, slavery, sexual abuse, destruction of religious and cultural sites of significance, and the besieging of entire communities because of ethnic, religious and sectarian affiliation. In addition to the violation of human rights, the High Commissioner cited other UN reports stressing the humanitarian crisis and the severe shortages of food, water and the lack of medical services.
One year later, the situation remains much the same, but with an increased number of people uprooted as internally displaced persons and refugees. The political situation has grown more complex, with Turkey playing an increasing if unclear role. Efforts at mediation by the United Nations of the Syrian aspects of the conflict have not given visible results. Russian diplomats have been meeting with some Syrian factions as well as with the Syrian government, but there seem to be no advances toward broader negotiations.
The political and military actions of ISIS have effectively linked the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. A global approach for conflict resolution is needed.