Systematic assassination of religious leaders, rape as a strategy and forcing children to fight are among the offenses of the Islamic extremists who have swarmed over large chunks of Iraq and Syria, says the United Nations.
“The UN accused Islamic State fighters in Iraq of executing religious and other leaders as well as teachers and health workers, forcibly recruiting children and raping women among acts that amounted to war crimes,” reported Maggie Fick for Reuters.
“At least 5,576 Iraqi civilians have been killed,” reported Fick, “the UN said in the most detailed account yet of the impact of months of unrest culminating in advances by Sunni militants led by the al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State, formerly known as ISIL, across the north.”
ISIL is also referred to as ISIS in the media.
The insurgents “and associated armed groups have also continued to... perpetrate targeted assassinations (community, political, and religious leaders, government employees, education professionals, health workers, etc.), sexual assault, rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls, forced recruitment of children, kidnappings, executions, robberies," said the UN report.
It also accused the Islamic State of wanton destruction and plundering of places of worship and of cultural or historical significance.
"Credible information on recruitment and use of children as soldiers was also received," the report noted.
"Every day we receive accounts of a terrible litany of human rights violations being committed in Iraq against ordinary Iraqi children, women and men, who have been deprived of their security, their livelihoods, their homes, education, healthcare and other basic services," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said.
According to Fick, the report also details violations committed by government forces and affiliated groups, citing "summary executions/extrajudicial killings of prisoners and detainees.
Iraq’s reeling, predominantly Shi’ite army has leaned heavily on Shi'ite militia and volunteers in its battle against the Sunni insurgency. The UN noted that the "deteriorating security situation" had limited its ability to directly monitor and verify incidents. More than 1.2 million people had been displaced this year, according to the report.
Publication date: July 18, 2014