UN: Daesh treatment of Yazidis classified as genocide, crimes against humanity

Published June 16th, 2016 - 03:00 GMT
Yazidi men overlook a mass grave of Yazidi victims killed by Daesh. (AFP/File)
Yazidi men overlook a mass grave of Yazidi victims killed by Daesh. (AFP/File)

A United Nations committee has determined Daesh is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity on the ethnic Yazidi community including genocide and enslavement.

The Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic released its first report Thursday detailing how the Kurdish ethnic group has been kidnapped, beaten and enslaved by the militant group also identified as Daesh, ISIL and ISIS.

"Genocide has occurred and is ongoing," Paulo Pinheiro, chair of the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, said in a statement. "ISIS has subjected every Yazidi woman, child or man that it has captured to the most horrific of atrocities."

Daesh refers to the Yazidi people as a "pagan minority [whose] existence ... Muslims should question", adding that "their women could be enslaved ... as spoils of war," the commission writes in a statement.

The commission's work is its first report on the Daesh's crimes against the Yazidi since the group attacked and held captive unarmed Yazidi communities in northwestern Iraq in August 2014. Many Yazidi were taken to Syria and the militant group still holds more than 3,200 Yazidi women and children hostage, who Daesh has begun to sell as slaves via online auctions. The Yazidi women and children are sold exclusively to Daesh fighters.

One woman sold into sexual slavery was sold at least 15 times to different Daesh fighters.

"Survivors who escaped from ISIS captivity in Syria describe how they endured brutal rapes, often on a daily basis, and were punished if they tried to escape with severe beatings, and sometimes gang rapes," Vitit Muntarbhorn, a commissioner, said in a statement.

By Andrew V. Pestano

Editor's note: This article has been edited from the original. 

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