UN: Islamic State committing rights abuses against children in Iraq

UN: Islamic State committing rights abuses against children in Iraq

[JURIST] Members of the Islamic State (IS) [JURIST backgrounder] are abducting Iraqi children and engaging in serious human rights abuses, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child [official website] reported [materials] Wednesday. Abuses reportedly entail the “systematic killing of children belonging to religious and ethnic minorities,” including the “mass execution of boys, as well as reports of beheadings, crucifixions of children and burying children alive.” The committee expressed concern about the number of children killed or severely injured as a result of air strikes, shelling and land mines in conflict-affected areas. According to the committee, children that are abducted are “severely traumatized from witnessing the murder of their parents” and sexually enslaved while detained in makeshift prisons. The report also denounced the “markets” set up by IS, where the group sells abducted children with price tags attached to them. The committee urged the government to allow the children to escape from the areas of conflict and receive basic humanitarian aid for physical and psychological recovery.

Children worldwide remain victims of conflict and exploitation. In December the UN Children’s Fund [official website] issued a press release [JURIST report] declaring 2014 “a devastating year for children,” citing the 15 million children affected by violent conflicts in the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, Palestine, Syria and Ukraine. A report [statement] released by the UN in July stated [JURIST report] that children continued to be victims of violence and military recruitment in 23 conflict zones around the world in 2013, with Zerrougui calling Syria “one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child.” In June Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] claimed [JURIST report] that teenagers as young as 15 have been recruited by armed groups in Syria with some becoming suicide bombers. Earlier that month the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] confirmed war crimes charges against Congolese general Bosco Ntanga [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] including the recruitment of child soldiers.