The UN Security Council has condemned "in the strongest terms" attacks on minorities by Islamist militants in Iraq as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the international community to support the Iraqi government during the current crisis.
"The Secretary-General is deeply appalled at today's reports of attacks by the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) in Kirkuk, and Qaraqosh, and earlier attacks in Tal Afar and Sinjar district, affecting mainly the vulnerable communities of Christians, Turkomen, and Yezidis," Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson.
"Reports of Yezidis amassing along the Turkish border as well as thousands also trapped in the Sinjar Mountains in desperate need of humanitarian assistance are of urgent and grave concern," the statement said.
The Secretary-General welcomed the successful humanitarian airdrop that has taken place so far but expressed his "continuing and deep concern" for the safety of those civilians.
Ban called on the international community, "especially those with the influence and resources" to positively impact the situation, to support the government and people of Iraq and to do all it can to help alleviate the suffering of the population affected by the current conflict in Iraq.
The UN Security Council condemned the attacks by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and again expressed its "deep outrage" about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis —- many of them from vulnerable minority communities, especially Yezidis and Christians — displaced by ISIL's attacks and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
"The members of the Security Council condemn in the strongest terms the systematic persecution of individuals from minority populations and those who refuse the extremist ideology of ISIL and associated armed groups," the 15-nation body said in a statement.
The UNSC reiterated that widespread or systematic attacks directed against any civilian populations because of their ethnic background, political grounds and religion may constitute a crime against humanity, for which those responsible must be held accountable.
The Council further called on all political entities to overcome divisions and work together "in an inclusive and urgent political process" to strengthen Iraq's national unity, sovereignty and independence.
Iraq's leaders were also called on to engage, "as quickly as possible", to form a government that represents all segments of the Iraqi population and that contributes to finding a viable and sustainable solution to the country's current challenges.