The Islamic State group has perpetrated horrific punishments on Iraqi children, including burying them alive, crucifying them, using them as human shields and recruiting mentally challenged children as suicide bombers, a United Nations watchdog said Wednesday.
A report by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child blasted the Islamic State group for its “systematic killing of children belonging to religious and ethnic minorities ... including several cases of mass executions of boys, as well as reports of beheadings, crucifixions of children and burying children alive.”
"We have had reports of children, especially children who are mentally challenged, who have been used as suicide bombers, most probably without them even understanding," U.N. committee expert Renate Winter told Reuters. "There was a video placed (online) that showed children at a very young age, approximately eight years of age and younger, to be trained already to become child soldiers."
Yezidis, fled from the Islamic State group attacks on their home town Sinjar, stay in harsh conditions as the winter starts, in a valley of western Sinjar Mountain in Sinjar district of Mosul, Iraq on December 20, 2014. A Yezidi child is seen as he holds a piece of wood and a piece of metal. (Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
The U.N. committee’s report asserted that the jihadist group has been sexually enslaving Iraqi children, especially those from minority groups. It described markets set up by the Islamic State where it sells abducted children and women “attaching price tags to them.”
Children who have been abducted by the Islamist radicals “are subjected to physical and sexual assault,” the committee report said.
While the U.N. urged the Iraqi government to “take all necessary measures to rescue children,” it also warned that the Iraqis should “respect the principles of distinction and proportionality when carrying out armed operations against the so-called ISIL and other armed groups, and take all feasible precautions to spare civilians, in particular children from the effects of hostilities.”
The committee expressed concern about the systematic killing, torture, rape and forced conversion to Islam of minority groups including Turkmen, Christians, Yezidi, Kurds, Arab Shi’a, Baha’i and others.
The Islamic State group on Tuesday released a video which showed the burning to death, in a cage, of a Jordanian pilot who it was holding captive. Jordan responded by swiftly executing two Iraqi prisoners who were on death row for their jihadist activities.