The Amnesty International human rights organization has urged the US and the Iraqi government not to use white phosphorus bombs in the vicinity of Mosul, but has also added that they will have a right to do this, if their ‘military objectives cannot be accomplished through safer means.’
The Iraqi government and the US-led coalition have been urged not to use white phosphorus bombs in the vicinity of Mosul by the Amnesty International human rights organization. The appeal was explained by devastating health consequences for civilians, trying to leave the Iraqi city.
According to Amnesty International, white phosphorus munitions were allegedly used in Karemlesh village, about 20 km east of Mosul, on October 20. The organization claims that it has credible evidence of the usage of this type of bombs, based on witness testimony and photos.
Amnesty pointed out that refugees, fleeing from Mosul towards Erbil, will have to pass through the contaminated area.
White phosphorus is poisonous. It is highly soluble in body fluids and is rapidly absorbed. Acute poisoning also occurs by inhalation of white phosphorus fumes. In addition, usage of white phosphorus has a demoralizing psychological effect.
“White phosphorus can cause horrific injuries, burning deep into the muscle and bone. It is possible that some of it will only partially burn and could then reignite weeks after being deployed,” senior crisis response adviser at Amnesty International, Donatella Rovera, said.
“We are urging Iraqi and coalition forces never to use white phosphorus in the vicinity of civilians. Even if civilians are not present at the time of its use, due to the residual risks they should not use airburst white phosphorus munitions unless it is absolutely necessary to achieve military objectives which cannot be accomplished through safer means,” Rovera said.
At the same time, she noted that the US should at the very least inform populations about the areas where white phosphorus bombs were used.
“It is absolutely imperative that the forces using white phosphorus publicize details of areas potentially contaminated by the substance, to minimize the risk of accidental harm to civilians,” Rovera noted.
So, the human rights organization allows the usage of phosphorus bombs in Iraq by the US side in case of need, and only advises that it would be better not to do this. Meanwhile, the rest international community prefers to remain silent on this matter. At the same time, earlier, when it was reported about the usage of the same bombs by Russia in Syria that was denied by Russian military, the Russian side was severely criticized and accused of what it did not commit by media, human rights organizations, the UN and even by some online activists. In this way, we can see another conspicuous example of double standard of the international community.