IS holding 3,500 women and children as 'slaves'

Islamic State militants are carrying out gruesome public executions and training child soldiers

Newstalk, Islamic State, IS, militants, Yazidi, women, children, slaves, Geneva, United Nations, UN, Iraq, war crimes, genocide, execution

A wounded civilian is treated by Iraqi security forces after he was shot by IS fighters in Ramadi. (AP Photo)

 

Islamic State (IS) is holding an estimated 3,500 women and children as slaves in Iraq, the United Nations (UN) has said.

They are mostly women and children from the Yazidi community, according to a report issued in Geneva.

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the UN's human rights office have documented widespread abuses that "in some instances amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide".

They also said IS militants have imposed a harsh rule marked by gruesome public executions.

Methods of execution include shooting, beheading, bulldozing, burning people alive and throwing them off the top of buildings.

The UN said it had verified reports on child soldiers, saying that 800 to 900 youngsters had been abducted in the Iraqi city of Mosul for military and religious training.

Some were killed when they tried to escape fighting in western Anbar province.

Measuring casualties

Between the beginning of 2014 and the end of October 2015, the UN said that at least 18,802 civilians had been killed in Iraq, and another 36,245 wounded.

The UN's human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said: "Even the obscene casualty figures fail to accurately reflect exactly how terribly civilians are suffering in Iraq.

He added that the report illustrated the "horror" that Iraqi refugees were attempting to escape from when they fled to Europe and other parts of the world.

IS in Iraq

IS seized large parts of Iraq in the summer of 2014, sweeping across northern and western areas.

However, in recent months Iraqi government forces have made advances against the group, taking back control of the city of Ramadi.