A new report from the United Nations estimates that the Islamic State is currently holding some 3,500 people, mostly women and children, as slaves in Iraq.
The report was jointly issued by U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq and U.N. human rights office in Geneva, and declares that ISIS atrocities committed in Iraq constitute “war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.”
Some of the crimes described in the report include executions by shooting, beheading, bulldozing, burning alive and throwing people off the top of buildings.
The document also states that the United Nations has information about the murder of child soldiers, as well as verified reports of the abduction of 800-900 children in Mosul for military and religious training.
The militant jihadist group is known for its public beheadings, crucifixions and rape, and many of the females being held prisoners are kept as sex slaves.
“Those being held are predominantly women and children and come primarily from the Yezidi community,” the report stated, “but a number are also from other ethnic and religious minority communities.”
Islamic State interpretation of Muslim belief allows for nonconsensual sex with female slaves, who are considered legitimate spoils of jihad.
In December, a religious ruling issued by the ISIL Committee of Research and Fatwas came to light, codifying in great detail the sexual conduct of Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) slave owners toward their infidel female captives.
In testimony before the United Nations Security Council, ISIS survivor Nadia Murad Basee Taha described in gruesome detail the ordeal she suffered as a sex slave to the Islamic State.
“Rape was used to destroy women and girls and to guarantee that these women could never lead a normal life again,” she declared. The jihadists raped Taha until she passed out.
Last October, a young Yazidi woman told CNN that the ISIS fighters justified raping her as a means to make her Muslim.
“He showed me a letter and said, ‘This shows any captured women will become Muslim if ten ISIS fighters rape her.’ There was a flag of ISIS and a picture of [ISIS leader] Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi,” she said.
UN officials have said that the atrocities suffered at the hands of the Islamic State are even worse than the statistics suggest.
“Even the obscene casualty figures fail to accurately reflect exactly how terribly civilians are suffering in Iraq,” said U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a statement.
“The figures capture those who were killed or maimed by overt violence, but countless others have died from the lack of access to basic food, water or medical care,” he said.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome