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HRW: Iraq militias recruiting children from civilian camps

[JURIST] Iraqi militias are recruiting [HRW report] children from at least one civilian camp of displaced persons in the region of Kurdistan, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Tuesday. Witnesses reported that at least seven children were recruited as fighters on August 14 to combat the Islamic State (IS) forces. The Iraqi Security Forces are preparing to engage IS to drive them from the city of Mosul. HRW urged all sides of the conflict to demobilize any fighters under the age of 18 in order to comply with international law. IS has similarly recruited child soldiers. Last month HRW urged [JURIST report] Iraqi military commanders to prevent historically abusive militias from participating in the campaign to retake Mosul.

IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has been accused of war crimes on a massive scale in Iraq and Syria. In June a UN-mandated human rights inquiry reported that the IS has been committing genocide [JURIST report] against the Yazidi people, in addition to a carrying out a variety of other war crimes and human rights violations. Earlier this month the UN issued [JURIST report] a report detailing the atrocities committed by IS in Iraq. Also in August UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed [JURIST report] his concern for the human rights violations faced by the Yazidi minority in Northern Iraq, stating that actions of IS may amount to genocide. In March US Secretary of State John Kerry said [JURIST report] that IS "is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims." Also in March the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution [JURIST report] denouncing the actions of IS as "genocide" and calling for the establishment of international and domestic tribunals by UN member states.

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