Continuing acts of violence by Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq may include forcing up to 1,500 Yazidis and Christians into sexual slavery, according to a new United Nations (UN) report.
Last month, the UN released information about sexual violence atrocities committed by IS militants over the past few weeks. Nickolay Mladenov and Zainab Hawa Bangura—the special representatives of the Secretary-General in Iraq and on Sexual Violence in Conflict, respectively—condemned the violence in a joint statement.
The statement detailed sexual violence against women, girls and boys in the besieged towns of Northern Iraq. Militants have reportedly abducted women from minority groups such as the Yazidis, Christians, Turkomen, and Shabaks: efforts aimed at terrorizing communities, forcing them to flee their homes and surrender their lands prior to militarized attacks.
Women are often the targets of sexual violence as a tool of warfare. Yet, they are routinely excluded from peace processes and other peace building work. We stand in solidarity with the women of Iraq and call on Iraqi and international leaders to centre women's voices in the struggle for peace.