Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls Continues in Iraq

A family displaced by fighting in the village of Shora, 25 kilometres south of Mosul, wait by the roadside at an army checkpoint on the outskirts of Qayyarah. Photo: UNHCR / Ivor Prickett
A family displaced by fighting in the village of Shora, 25 kilometres south of Mosul, wait by the roadside at an army checkpoint on the outskirts of Qayyarah. Photo: UNHCR / Ivor Prickett

Mass graves and further evidence of sexual exploitation of women and girls, torture and killings, child recruitment and other grave human rights abuses committed by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, ISIL) militants in Iraq have come to light.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has called for immediate action to ensure that the rights and the needs of victims and survivors are met – including, crucially, the need for justice, truth and reconciliation.

“The extent of civilian suffering in Mosul and other ISIL-occupied areas in Iraq is numbing and intolerable,” High Commissioner Zeid said today.

UN human rights officers are continuing to monitor the impact of the armed conflict on civilians, directly and through information provided by implementing partners and networks of sources.

Recently human rights officers visited al-Jada camp in al-Qayyarah sub-district to monitor the security screening process being conducted there, and will continue to visit other sites directly where possible.

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The High Commissioner also expressed concern that many former Government and security personnel who had been living under ISIL rule have reportedly been instructed that they must register and return to their posts within a very tight deadline. If they fail to do so, they will be removed from their jobs.

However, the areas where some of these former Government employees come from have only just been liberated from ISIL, so they are not yet secure and basic services are not available.

Zeid called on the Government to ensure that adequate security guarantees are in place so that civilians are not forced to prematurely return to their places of origin.

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Rakesh Raman