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Rights group accuses Islamic State of ethnic cleansing

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website) on Tuesday accused [report, PDF] the extremist group, Islamic State (IS) [BBC Backgrounder; JURIST news archive], of carrying out ethnic cleansing "on a historic scale" in Northern Iraq. The report, entitled "Ethnic cleansing on a historic scale: the Islamic State's systematic targeting of minorities in northern Iraq," asserts that since June, the group has abducted or killed possibly thousands of ethnic and religious minorities in its effort to convert them to the Islamic faith. In addition to causing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, hundreds of Yazidi men from the Sinjar region of Iraq who resisted an IS advance [JURIST report] were captured and shot dead while the woman and children from the area were abducted. The report concludes that IS is "systematically and deliberately carrying out a program of ethnic cleansing in the areas under its control" and appeals to the Iraqi government and the international community to respond quickly with humanitarian assistance.

AI and other human rights groups such as the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] and Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] have been appealing for international intervention in Syria and Iraq for over a year because of the actions of IS. Earlier this week the UN expressed grave concern [JURIST report] over the increase of human rights violations against children in Syria and Iraq by IS, citing reports of using children as informers, checkpoint sentries and suicide bombers. The UN has consistently accused [JURIST news archive] IS of war crimes and crimes against humanity and has urged immediate action to prevent the killings and aid those who have been abducted and those at risk of violence. HRW has reported [JURIST news archive] several times on mass executions of non-Arab and non-Sunni Muslims in Syria and Iraq as well as the killing of Iraqi military forces, including the video taped murder [JURIST report] of four Iraqi counter-terrorism SWAT-team members in January.

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