The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday condemned attacks by Islamic State fighters in Iraq and warned that those responsible for the violence could face trial for crimes against humanity, AFP reported.
The statement from the 15-member Council was the second strong condemnation over the past two weeks of the IS offensive that saw jihadists seize control of the main northern city of Mosul on June 10.
The Council warned that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) posed a threat not only to Iraq and Syria but to "regional peace, security and stability."
"Widespread or systematic attacks directed against any civilian populations because of their ethnic background, religion or belief may constitute a crime against humanity, for which those responsible must be held accountable," said the statement read by British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.
The ambassador singled out the Yazidi minority, a community whose faith is rooted in Zoroastrianism, and who have been targeted by jihadists as "devil worshipers."
The Yazidis and other minorities have "lived for hundreds of years in Sinjar and elsewhere in Nenewa province," he said, adding that the Council condemned "in the strongest terms" the systematic persecution of these communities.
"Many of these Iraqis have been displaced or forced to flee and seek refuge, while many others have been executed and kidnapped," said the Council statement.
Iraqi helicopters dropped supplies Tuesday to thousands of people hiding from jihadists in desolate mountains, many of them from the Yazidi minority which officials warned risked being massacred or starved into extinction.
The Council urged Iraqi politicians to come together to form a government to address the threat posed by IS, which is under U.N. sanctions as an al-Qaida affiliate.