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According to research by the Associated Press, at least 72 mass graves left by the terrorist organisation IS/Daesh have been discovered in Syria and Iraq. Many of them (around 40 grave sites) are located in the Sinjar region, the Yazidi territory in northern Iraq, that was attacked by IS/Daesh in August 2014.

S&D vice-president responsible for human rights Josef Weidenholzer MEP said:

"The mass graves are only covered provisionally. Remains and bones lie around uncovered and are exposed to dogs and the weather. The longer we wait, the less that will remain of the graves and of the evidence. It is important to make European support available for the preservation and exhumation of the graves. After all, these are important pieces of evidence that prove the actions of IS/Daesh and will give information to the relatives. We need European support for this as recognition and reconstruction is an important prerequisite for reconciliation, and to create the conditions for people to return."

S&D vice-president for foreign affairs Victor Boştinaru MEP added:

"We cannot allow impunity in Syria and Iraq. The international community should ensure that all perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are prosecuted by the International Criminal Court. Therefore, preserving this evidence is now of the utmost importance.

"The massive atrocities committed against civilian populations in Syria and the targeting of particular groups have occurred at the same time as attacks on the cultural, historical and religious heritage and property of these people. These acts of cultural destruction also represent attacks on all of us and should be recognised as crimes against humanity."

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