After fighters from the Islamic State militant group attacked her village in northern Iraq in August, an adolescent Yazidi girl was abducted, raped several times by different men and then sold in a public market as a sex slave.
The episode is one chilling example from a United Nations report released Thursday that details a litany of atrocities committed by Islamic State militants — and Iraqi government forces and associated militias — against civilians in Iraq. Most troubling are the examples of “gross violations” of international law committed from July 6 to Sept. 10 against Iraq’s most vulnerable civilians, women and children, who find themselves in the path of fighters from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Women and girls were raped and sold as sex slaves.
In early August, militants from the Islamic State abducted up to 500 women and girls from a village in southern Sinjar and reportedly sent 150 of the unmarried women and girls to Syria, “either to be given to ISIL fighters as a reward or to be sold as sex slaves.”
The report said the Yazidi girl who was abducted by Islamic State fighters when they attacked her village on Aug. 3 was raped several times by different men before she was sold in a market.
“Women and girls are brought with price tags for the buyers to choose and negotiate the sale,” the report said. “The buyers were said to be mostly youth from the local communities. Apparently ISIL was ‘selling’ these Yazidi women to the youth as a means of inducing them to join their ranks.”
Some women tried to fight back.
The report described two instances in which women tried to fight back against Islamic State militants, prompting deadly reprisals.
Female doctors working at a hospital in Mosul were ordered to cover their faces and abide by strict dress codes. Some of the doctors objected, saying veils made it difficult to treat their patients, and went on a temporary strike, the report said.
One of the doctors who participated in the strike was killed on Aug. 13 in her home in Tayaran, south of Mosul.
About a week later, on Aug. 21, when Islamic State fighters began beating women in a Mosul market for refusing to wear veils, some women threw stones at their attackers, according to the report. Four days later, the bodies of three women who had been shot and tortured were found west of the city.
Children were abused and used for propaganda.
According to witnesses cited in the report, Islamic State fighters dumped more than 60 Turkmen and Yazidi children in an orphanage in Mosul after they had witnessed the killing of their parents by the fighters. “It appears some of the older children may have been physically and sexually assaulted,” the report notes. “Later, ISIL fighters returned to the orphanage and made the children pose with ISIL flags so they could take photos of them.”
ISIS is recruiting child soldiers.
Militants are recruiting children as young as 12 to fight for the Islamic State, the report said, and witnesses in Mosul have seen children between the ages of 13 and 16 on patrol alongside the militants.
“Witnesses reported that these children wear similar attire to that of ISIL gunmen, and sometimes wear masks or kaffiyeh over their faces,” the report said. “Children were seen carrying weapons, sometimes too big for them to carry.”
These child soldiers are also used for propaganda, as the report notes that photos of their training have been posted on social media sites and other websites.
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(via NY Times)