Violence against women
Amidst the systematic violence by the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria — and also by Boko Haram in Nigeria, as well as other jihadist groups in Mali and Somalia — sexual violence against women and girls now represents a premeditated strategy.
This is affirmed in a report by the United Nations, drafted by a commission led by Zainab Hawa Bangura of Sierra Leone, who is head of the department of sexual violence. According to the report, which will be brought for the examination of the Security Council, but which has already been released to the press, 2014 was "characterized by deeply distressing news of rapes, forced marriages and sexual slavery." The UN experts explain that sexual violence is “part of the tactics of IS and other groups to spread terror, to persecute ethnic and religious minorities, and to destroy all those who oppose their ideology”. Among the many examples in the report is the Islamic State's promise, as a recruitment strategy, to “award” those who enlist with a woman of the Yazida community between the ages of 18 and 35. According to the UN's estimate, approximately 1,500 Iraqi women have been forced to become sex slaves by IS. Also in Syria the UN has noted a significant increase in the cases of sexual violence perpetrated by armed groups, especially by IS in the second half of 2014.
St. Peter’s Square
Oct. 20, 2019
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