MOSCOW, September 2 (RIA Novosti) – The Islamic State (IS) has been systematically targeting non-Arab and non-Sunni Muslim communities in northern Iraq, killing and abducting hundreds and forcing more than 830,000 others to flee, Amnesty International stated in a report published on its official website on Tuesday.
“The massacres and abductions being carried out by the Islamic State provide harrowing new evidence that a wave of ethnic cleansing against minorities is sweeping across northern Iraq,” reads Donatella Rovera's, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser's, statement on the organization’s official website.
The report is based on field investigations carried out by Amnesty International in northern Iraq, including several towns and villages subsequently taken over by the IS, and the city of Mosul after it fell under the IS control, between June and September 2014.
The organization interviewed witnesses, survivors, and victims, including the families of those who were killed or abducted, and those who were forced to leave their home in fear of the IS fighters.
Ethnic and religious minorities – Assyrian Christians, Turkmen Shi’a, Shabak Shi’a, Yezidis. Kakai and Sabean Mandaeans – are under attack by the IS. Many Arab Muslims known or believed to oppose the IS or to have worked with the government and security forces, or previously with the US army (present in Iraq until 2011), have also been forced to flee, and there homes were destroyed or expropriated, the report states.
The IS actions resulted in a humanitarian crisis in the region, Amnesty International reports. The conditions for the displaced are dire – they have no shelter, no sanitation. According to the report, entire communities in northern Iraq were abandoned to their fate, when the Shi’a-dominated Iraqi army and security forces fled the area in June.
Those abducted by the IS are said to being tortured, raped and subject to another forms of inhuman or degrading treatment. Amnesty International raises concerns about the scale and gravity of the abuses and the urgency of the situation.
The report states that the new Iraqi government must prioritize the establishment of non-sectarian government, military and security institutions that are willing and able to restore security and to introduce the rule of law, to disarm and disband militias responsible for executions and other human rights violations.
IS, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), is a jihadist group which was originally composed of a variety of Sunni insurgent groups and had close ties with al-Qaeda.
IS militants have been fighting alongside the other rebel groups against the government forces in the Syrian civil war, before launching an offensive in Iraq in June 2014. Later that month, IS announced the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories that had fallen under its control.