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UN and Iraq to work on tackling sexual violence

UN and Iraq to work on tackling sexual violence
2 min read
25 September, 2016
The UN has says it will work with Iraqi officials to bring Islamic State group militants who have committed 'unspeakable' crimes on girls and women in the country to justice.
Thousands of Yazidi girls were captured and enslaved by Islamic State group militants [Getty]
The UN says it will help Iraqi officials tackle sexual violence, as pro-government forces advance on the remaining areas held by the Islamic State group, and capture suspected militants guilty of raping Yazidi girls and women.

To date, no perpetrators have been brought to justice for the "unspeakable suffering" inflicted on Iraq's minorities during its battle with IS.

An agreement to help the Baghdad government deal with the issue and bring those responsible before the courts was finalised on Friday.

"I do believe that these crimes amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide," said Zainab Hawa Bangura, the UN special envoy for sexual violence in conflict.

Bangura and Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari signed the agreement on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting.

Bangura recalled a visit to Iraq last year where Yazidi girls described being "inspected like livestock, sold in modern-day slave markets and then repeatedly raped by the fighters who bought them".
Read more: Islamic State selling girls as sex slaves on WhatsApp

Some escaped, she said, but thousands of Yazidis, including women and girls, are still missing.

Turkmen Shia, Shia Shabak and Iraqi Christians were also victims of sexual violence.

Bangura's office said the support envisioned under the agreement will include documenting and collecting evidence of alleged sex crimes, strengthening Iraq's legal framework to better address sexual violence and putting in place procedures for compensating victims.

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson last week unveiled a plan to begin collecting evidence of IS crimes, particularly its assault on the Yazidi community.

Clooney is set to act as counsel for the Yazidi people at the International Criminal Court (ICC), where she plans to seek accountability by IS for the genocide, rape, enslavement and the trafficking of women and girls.