Human rights in ISIL-controlled territory
The state of human rights in territories controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is considered to be one of the worst in modern history, and has been criticised by many political, religious and other organisations and individuals. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has stated that ISIL "seeks to subjugate civilians under its control and dominate every aspect of their lives through terror, indoctrination, and the provision of services to those who obey".
In November 2014 the UN's Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic said that ISIL was committing crimes against humanity and that the group "seeks to subjugate civilians under its control and dominate every aspect of their lives through terror, indoctrination, and the provision of services to those who obey." In October 2015, the UN Human Rights Council "strongly condemn[ed] the terrorist acts and violence committed against civilians by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Daesh), al-Nusrah Front and other extremist groups, and their continued gross, systematic and widespread abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, and reaffirm[ed] that terrorism, including the actions of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Daesh), cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization."
Statements of human rights groups
A report by Human Rights Watch in November 2014 accused ISIL militants in Libya's Derna of war crimes and human rights abuses and of terrorizing residents. Human Rights Watch documented three apparent incidents in which captives were killed and at least ten public floggings by the Islamic Youth Shura Council, which joined ISIL in November. It also documented the beheading of three Derna residents and dozens of seemingly politically motivated assassinations of judges, public officials, members of the security forces and others. Sarah Leah Watson, Director of HRW Middle East and North Africa, said: "Commanders should understand that they may face domestic or international prosecution for the grave rights abuses their forces are committing."
Amnesty International has held ISIL responsible for the ethnic cleansing of ethnic and religious minority groups in northern Iraq on a "historic scale". It issued a special report in late 2014 describing how ISIL has "systematically targeted non-Arab and non-Sunni Muslim communities, killing or abducting hundreds, possibly thousands, and forcing more than 830,000 others to flee the areas it has captured since 10 June 2014". Among these people are Assyrian Christians, Turkmen Shia, Shabak Shia, Yazidis, Kaka'i and Sabean Mandeans, who have lived together for centuries in Nineveh province, large parts of which are now under ISIL's control.
Genocide and other war crimes
ISIL's crimes of murder, ethnic cleansing, enslavement and rape against Shia, Christian, and Yazidi minorities within its territories have been recognized as a genocide. There are also many Sunni Muslim victims of ISIS.
One captured ISIS fighter boasted about raping over 200 women from Iraq's minority groups and killing over 500 people and claimed he was encouraged to do so by the leadership.
Despite being the religious majority in Iraq, Shia Muslims who predominantly inhabit the country's south have been killed in large numbers by ISIL. By June 2014, ISIL had already claimed to have killed 1700 Shia Muslims. ISIL, attempting to create a Sunni Muslim caliphate, has labelled all Shia Muslims infidels. As a result, they have specifically targeted Shia communities. According to witnesses, after the militant group took the city of Mosul, they divided the Sunni prisoners from the Shia prisoners. 650 Shia prisoners were then taken to another location and executed. Kurdish officials in Erbil have reported similar incidents where Sunni and Shia prisoners were separated and Shia prisoners were killed. Shia are sometimes burned alive.
Iraqi Christians, the majority being the Chaldean Christians of Northern Iraq, have also been targeted by ISIL. The group tells Christians they must either convert to Islam, pay a fine, or face execution. ISIL has also taken Qaraqosh, Iraq's largest Christian city. Christians who fled the city reported summary executions and mass beheadings. Some have also been kidnapped and held for ransom. Others have been publicly whipped for refusing to convert to Islam. Many Christians have been displaced and have fled their villages to escape ISIL. The group has also systematically destroyed Christian churches and shrines. ISIL fighters have destroyed and vandalized many Christian monuments, and they have taken down crosses from the tops of churches, replacing them with ISIL flags. They've marked Christian homes with an Arabic "N" which stands for "Nasrane", a word used by Muslims to describe followers of the Christian faith.
The persecution of Yazidis has been labelled a genocide. This religious sect has been subjected to massacres, forced conversion, forced exile, rape, torture, slavery, sexual slavery, and forced conscription. There have been numerous massacres in attacks on Yazidi villages. In many of the massacres, militants separate the men from the women. Afterward, the men are lined up at checkpoints along the side of the road, shot, and bulldozed into mass graves. Sometimes, men are also given the option of converting to Islam or being executed, so there have been many instances of both forced conversions and killings for refusal to convert to ISIL's version of Islam. Other Yazidi men have been forced into Yazidi temples and blown up inside or taken into captivity. Yezidi boys taken captive are typically forced to become ISIL fighters.
Yazidi women and children have also faced persecution at the hands of ISIL. Yazidi women and girls have been subjected to systematic rape, forced marriage, child marriage, and sexual slavery. Some of them have been as young as eight years old. These "marriages" are often abusive, and the captives are often raped by multiple men, typically friends of their captors. They believe that if a woman is raped by ten ISIL fighters, she will become Muslim. Some are chosen through "lotteries" in which ISIL fighters draw names in order to choose which captive to rape. Many have also been sold as sex slaves to ISIL fighters. There are also reports that women forced into sex slavery have been subjected to forced abortions. Many of these captives have tried to take their own lives.
The Sinjar massacre was the killing and abduction of thousands of Yazidi men in Sinjar (Kurdish: شنگال Şingal) city and Sinjar District in Iraq's Nineveh Governorate by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in August 2014. This event started with ISIL attacking and capturing Sinjar and neighboring towns on 3 August, during ISIL's offensive in early August 2014.
The New York Times reported on 7 August 2014 that ISIL had executed dozens of Yazidi men in Sinjar city and had taken their wives for unmarried jihadi fighters. It was also reported that ISIL fighters executed over ten caretakers of Shia Sayeda Zeinab shrine in Sinjar before blowing it up.
While the siege of Mount Sinjar was continuing, ISIL killed hundreds of Yazidis in at least six of the nearby villages. 250–300 men were killed in the village of Hardan, 200 between Adnaniya and Jazeera, 70–90 in Qiniyeh, and on the road out of al-Shimal witnesses reported seeing dozens of bodies. Hundreds of others had also been killed for refusing to convert to Islam.
On 15 August 2014, in the Yazidi village of Khocho, south of Sinjar, after the whole population had received the jihadist ultimatum to convert or be killed, over 80 men were killed. A witness recounted that the villagers were first converted under duress, but when the village elder refused to convert, all of the men were taken in trucks under the pretext of being led to Sinjar, and gunned down along the way. According to reports from survivors interviewed by OHCHR, on 15 August, the entire male population of the Yazidi village of Khocho, up to 400 men, were rounded up and shot by ISIL, and up to 1,000 women and children were abducted.
On the same day, up to 200 Yazidi men were reportedly executed for refusing conversion in a Tal Afar prison. The massacres took place at least until 25 August when ISIL executed 14 elderly Yazidi men in Sheikh Mand Shrine in Jidala, western Sinjar, and blew up the shrine there.
40,000 or more Yazidis were trapped in the Sinjar Mountains and mostly surrounded by ISIL forces who were firing on them. They were largely without food, water or medical care, facing starvation and dehydration.
By 2014, a U.N. Humans Rights commission counted that 9,347 civilians had been murdered by ISIL in Iraq, then however; by 2016 a second report by the United Nations estimated 18,802 deaths. The Sinjar massacre in 2014 resulted in the killings of between 2,000 and 5,000 civilians.
- Children aged 1 to 9 were sold for 200,000 dinars ($169).
- Women and children 10 to 20 years old for 150,000 dinars ($127).
- Women 20 to 30 years old for 100,000 dinar ($85).
- Women 30 to 40 years old are 75,000 dinar ($63).
- Women 40 to 50 years old for 50,000 dinar ($42).
Allegations of organ trafficking
The group released a fatwa permitting the removal of organs from non-Muslim captives. The document says that "The apostate's life and organs don't have to be respected and may be taken with impunity." The document seems to define apostate as non-Muslim though Shia Muslim captives may also be endangered by the fatwa due to ISIL's extreme interpretation of Islam. The document also claims ISIL authorizes the removal of organs from captives even when it may kill them. Iraq has accused the group of harvesting human organs for profit.
- Human rights in Iraq (disambiguation page of historical eras)
- Human rights in Syria
- ISIL's Violation of Children's Rights
- Mass executions in ISIL occupied Mosul
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