An estimated 3,500 people, mainly women and children, are believed to be held as slaves in Iraq by Islamic State militants who impose a harsh rule marked by gruesome public executions, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
The militant group, which also controls large parts of neighbouring Syria, has committed widespread abuses that may “in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide,” the report said.
The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the UN human rights office estimated that 3,500 people were “currently being held in slavery by ISIL”. “Those being held are predominantly women and children and come primarily from the Yezidi community, but a number are also from other ethnic and religious minority communities,” said the joint report issued in Geneva.
The report also tallies the staggering toll on civilians over the past two years, documenting 18,802 deaths, the wounding of over 36,000 people and the displacement of 3.2 million inside the country, including more than a million children of school age. Killings by shooting, beheading and burning alive are detailed, as well as cases of people being thrown off the top of buildings.