Displaced Yazidis walk towards a Syrian border town, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountin, while trying to flee ISIS.Photo: Reuters
Islamic State jihadists may have committed genocide against the minority Yazidi community in Iraq – as well as crimes against humanity and war crimes, a United Nations report said Thursday.
The terror group, also known as ISIL, “may have committed all three of the most serious international crimes – namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide,” the UN human rights office said in a statement.
The report is based on interviews with more than 100 people who witnessed or survived attacks in Iraq between June 2014 and February 2015.
It found that “widespread abuses committed by ISIL include killings, torture, rape and sexual slavery, forced religious conversions and the conscription of children.”
The report cites the jihadists’ aggression against various ethnic and religious groups, including Christians, Turkmen, Kurds and Shia – but highlights their attacks on Yazidis, whom they intended to destroy as a group.
“This ‘strongly suggests’ that ISIL may have perpetrated genocide,” the UN said about the jihadists, who control large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.
“In some instances,” the report said, “villages were entirely emptied of their Yazidi population.”
The report, which was ordered by the UN Human Rights Council at the request from the Iraqi government, said that in many Yazidi villages, men and boys older than 14 were rounded up and shot – while women and girls were abducted as the “spoils of war.”
Girls as young as 6 years old were heard screaming for help as they were raped by the thugs, the report found. One witness described how a couple of the extremists laughed while two girls were raped nearby.Some of the women and girls were sold into sexual slavery or given to jihadists as “gifts,” the report said.
A pregnant woman told the UN investigators that she had been repeatedly raped by an Islamic State “doctor” over two and a half months. She said he sat on her stomach, telling her, “Thisbaby should die because it is an infidel; I can make a Muslim baby.”
Boys as young as 8 told the UN that they had been separated from their mothers and forced to convert to Islam. They said they were taught how to shoot guns and fire rockets, and also forced to watch videos of beheadings.
One child was told, “This is your initiation into jihad … you are an Islamic State boy now.”