UN unveils ISIS “staggering” violence in Iraq

Crowds with Isis flags march past the provincial government offices in Mosul AP
Crowds with Isis flags march past the provincial government offices in Mosul AP



The Isis jihadist group is holding as many as 3,500 people as slaves in its territories in Iraq alone, the UN has said.

According to a report released on Tuesday morning by the UN Assistance Mission in the country, those being held “are predominantly women and children and come primarily from the Yezidi community”, though they also include small numbers from other ethnic and religious minorities.

Detailing evidence of executions by shooting, beheading, burning alive and bulldozing, the UN found Isis militants had committed a range of abuses that may “amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide”.

The report is a rare and detailed insight, verified where possible by the UN human rights office, into the atrocities committed by Isis in Iraq. The group’s activities in Syria, where there is even less access for UN monitors and where Isis controls large swathes of land, are not documented.

The UN said it had been informed of the murder of child soldiers by Isis fighters, as well as confirmed reports suggesting between 800 and 900 children in Mosul had been abducted for military and religious training.

In a astatement, the UN’s human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said: “Even the obscene casualty figures fail to accurately reflect exactly how terribly civilians are suffering in Iraq.

“The figures capture those who were killed or maimed by overt violence, but countless others have died from the lack of access to basic food, water or medical care.”

He added that the report laid bare the “horror” that Iraqi refugees were attempting to escape when they fled to Europe and other regions.

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