U.N. warns Yazidis facing ‘attempted genocide’

Thousands of Yazidis were forced to flee violence by ISIS fighters in the Sinjar region in Iraq.

Thousands of Yazidis were forced to flee violence by ISIS fighters in the Sinjar region in Iraq.

Strong evidence suggests that Iraq’s ethnic and religious minority, the Yazidis, face what could amount to “attempted genocide,” a top U.N. rights official said on Wednesday.

“The evidence strongly indicates attempt to commit genocide,” Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic said after meeting with more than 30 displaced Yazidis across Iraq in a week-long visit.

In an offensive launched in August, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) actions, which now controls large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, he added.

Additionally, hundreds of women and girls were abducted by the militants, who later boasted in an online magazine that they have been selling their captives as slaves.

Thousands were displaced as they fled for their lives from ISIS’ ultimatum which forced them to convert to Islam or face certain death.

Simonovic interviewed Yazidis who described harrowing accounts including the execution of a group of Yazidis who were rounded up in a school and refused to convert, Agence France-Presse reported.

Almost 7,000 Yazidis remained in their towns, only after they were forced into converting to ISIS’s extreme interpretation of Islam.

A Human Rights Watch report released earlier this month said the abducted Yazidi women were subjected to sexual assault and were being sold by ISIS militants.

“The systematic abduction and abuse of Yazidi civilians may amount to crimes against humanity,” the New York-based watchdog said in a statement.

 
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