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Attacks on Yazidis may constitute genocide – UN

The militant group ISIS may have committed genocide against the Yazidi people in Iraq, according a new report by the UN.

The report said ISIS had "the intent... to destroy the Yazidi as a group."

"In some instances, villages were entirely emptied of their Yazidi population."

The report found “widespread abuses committed by ISIL include killings, torture, rape and sexual slavery, forced religious conversions and the conscription of children”.

A statement by the OHCHR said: "One witness described how two ISIL members sat laughing as two teenage girls were raped in the next room.

"A pregnant woman, repeatedly raped by an ISIL 'doctor' over a period of two and a half months, said he deliberately sat on her stomach.

"He told her: 'This baby should die because it is an infidel; I can make a Muslim baby'."

“Brutal treatment was meted out by ISIL to other ethnic groups, including Christians, Kaka’e, Kurds, Sabea-Mandeans, Shi’a and Turkmen. In a matter of days in June, thousands of Christians fled their homes in fear after ISIL ordered them to convert to Islam, pay a tax, or leave.”

The report also says Iraqi Security Forces and affiliated militia had committed serious human rights violations during their counter-offensive operations against ISIS.

As one witness put it: “we hoped for the best when the Iraqi army and the ‘volunteers’ liberated the area from ISIL. Instead…they pillaged, burnt and blew up houses, claiming that all villagers are part of ISIL. This is not true; we are just ordinary poor people.”

The report concludes that members of Iraqi Security Forces and affiliated militia "carried out extrajudicial killings, torture, abductions and forcibly displaced a large number of people, often with impunity.” By doing so, it says, they “may have committed war crimes.”

See the full report here.