Amnesty criticises IS of ethnic cleansing in Iraq
Amnesty International has accused the Islamic State (IS) of acts of ethnic cleansing “on a historic scale” in parts of northern Iraq, according to a report produced today.
The report is based on field investigations conducted by the charity and describes an array of first-accounts provided by citizens within the affected areas about horrifying incidents of executions en groupe, the abductions of women and children from the regions, episodes of rape and sexual abuse, and forced conversion to Islam under threat of death.
Two specific examples outlined in the report occurred on 3rd and 15th August in the Sinjar region, in the villages of Qiniyeh and Kocho respectively.
Eye-witnesses describe truck-loads of Yazidi men and boys being escorted to open graves or “wadi” (dry river beds) where they were shot from behind by IS firing squads. No official numbers have surfaced as yet, but it is possible that hundreds have been killed so far.
Since assuming control of regions in the north of the country, the IS, formerly known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), have targeted ethnic and religious minority communities such as Assyrian Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen Shi’a, Shabak Shi’a, and other non-Arabs and non-Sunni Muslims, forcing over 830,000 to abandon their homes and possessions and seek refuge elsewhere.
The report reveals that “most of the displaced are sheltering in the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), with small numbers sheltering across the borders in Syria and Turkey”.
Hundreds and thousands of people lack home and have been forced to sleep in building sites, makeshift encampments and parks with no sanitation, while others have taken cover in schools, halls and other public buildings.
In spite of acknowledgement and pending investigations by the UN into the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, Amnesty International has reproached the international community for its “slow and inadequate” response to the crisis.
The charity believes that the persecution of communities incongruous with IS ideals is “not only destroying lives, but also causing irreparable damage to the fabric of Iraq’s society, and fuelling inter-ethnic, sectarian and inter-religious tensions in the region and beyond”.