The United Nations Security Council on Sunday condemned the murder of a Japanese hostage by the Islamic State group and called for the immediate release of a second fellow national held captive.
In a unanimous declaration, the 15 members of the security body spoke out against the Islamic State group's "brutality" in its apparent beheading of self-employed security contractor Haruna Yukawa.
"The Security Council... strongly condemned the heinous and cowardly act," a statement read, according to AFP.
Yukawa's killing was announced in a video generally agreed to be credible, and appeared to mark a grave turn of events in a crisis that has gripped Japan for nearly a week. ISIS confirmed the video earlier Sunday.
"This crime is, yet again, a tragic reminder of the increasing dangers people face every day in Syria, including journalists," the Security Council said.
"It also once again demonstrates the brutality of (the ISIS group), which is responsible for thousands of abuses against the Syrian and Iraqi people."
Further, the Security Council "underlined the need to bring perpetrators of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice."
The 15 countries demanded the immediate release of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto and all hostages still being held by the ISIS group, the "Al-Nusra Frontand all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated withAl-Qaeda."
ISIS "must be defeated and... the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out," the council members added.
The statement said the Security Council would hold those responsible for Yukawa's death accountable.