Islamic State Is Committing Genocide Against Yazidis, UN Says

  • Report details violations after 2014 attacks in Iraq and Syria
  • Group continues to enslave thousands of Yazidi women and girls

Islamic State is committing genocide against the Yazidi minority in Iraq and Syria, seeking to erase the group’s identity as it continues to enslave thousands of its women and children, a United Nations body found.

Militants executed hundreds of Yazidis on capture following Islamic State’s attacks on their communities in August 2014, while many died under siege, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said in a report published on Thursday. The Yazidis were considered infidels -- men were killed and boys forced to convert to Islam and fight for Islamic State or face death, according to the report.

“ISIS has sought to destroy the Yazidis through killings; sexual slavery, enslavement, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment,” the UN body said, using an acronym for Islamic State. Boys are being “indoctrinated, trained and used in hostilities,” while thousands of others remain missing, it said.

Islamic State’s siege of thousands of fleeing Yazidis was a key reason U.S. President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes against the militant group two years ago. The UN report urges international recognition of the genocide and assistance for more than 3,200 Yazidi women and children still held by Islamic State, mostly in Syria.

Yazidi slaves are sold at “markets where groups of ISIS men inspect and select women and girls, and in online auctions,” the UN said in the report, which is based on interviews with survivors, smugglers, activists, journalists and religious leaders.

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