UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] on Wednesday condemned [report, PDF] rights violations against the of children in Iraq [UN News Centre report] by the Islamic State (IS). Ban stated, “I condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the continuous grave violations committed against children in armed conflict,” noting in his report that IS’s actions may considered war crimes or crimes against humanity:
[T]he document nonetheless highlights “worsening trends” as regards the killing and maiming, recruitment of child soldiers, sexual violence, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access. Among the other grim realities that children are facing in Iraq, the report also reveals that some 1,400 boys and girls had been abducted during the reporting period, from 1 January 2011 to 30 June 2015.
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui [official profile], expressed support for Ban’s call to action. “‘I call on the Government [of Iraq] to take robust action to address the recruitment and use of children by all parties to the conflict,’ Ms. Zerrougui said, also stressing that detention of children ‘should be used as a last resort and for the shortest period of time.'”
The Islamic State (IS) [JURIST backgrounder], also known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has caused increasing international alarm over its human rights abuses [JURIST report] since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq in 2013. In September members of Iraq’s Yazidi community met with the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in The Hague and urged [JURIST report] the court to open a genocide investigation in Northern Iraq. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum [official website] voiced support [press release] for the Yazidi community‘s [NYT backgrounder] efforts in November [JURIST report].