Global Violence Against Women

UN Speaks Out Against Islamic State’s Attacks on Women

The United Nations last week condemned the brutal killings of women by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also know as ISIS.

via Shutterstock
via Shutterstock

In a recent attack, Sameera Salih Ali Al-Nuaimya, a well-known lawyer and women’s rights activist, was publicly executed by a masked firing squad in Mosul. According to the United Nations, said Al-Nuaimy was taken from her home by ISIL fighters on September 17, after posting comments that were critical of the group on her Facebook page. Al-Nuaimy denounced the “barbaric bombing and destroying of mosques and shrines in Mosul.” The group tortured Al-Nuaimy for five days, convicting her of apostasy in a Shari’a court before killing her.

“By torturing and executing a female human rights’ lawyer and activist, defending in particular the civil and human rights of her fellow citizens in Mosul, ISIL continues to attest to its infamous nature, combining hatred, nihilism, and savagery, as well as its total disregard of human decency,” Nickolay Mladenov said. Mladenov is the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq. “ISIL has repeatedly targeted the weak and defenseless in acts of brutality and cowardice that are beyond description, bringing about unfathomable suffering to all Iraqis regardless of their gender, age, religion, faith or ethnicity.”

The UN said Al-Nuaimy’s assassination is only the latest incident in a string of targeted and ruthless attacks carried out against prominent female leaders. In July, the UN said ISIL fighters killed a female former candidate for Iraq’s parliament after storming her home. In a separate attack, the group invaded the home of another female candidate, killing and abducting her husband. The same day, a third female candidate was kidnapped by gunmen in eastern Mosul. The UN says she is still missing.

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said they’ve received “numerous” reports of other women who’ve been murdered by fighters in ISIL-controlled territories, and condemned “gross human rights violations,” including “rape and other forms of sexual and physical violence perpetrated against women and children” by those fighting in Northern Iraq. “Educated, professional women seem to be particularly at risk,” according to the UN.

The UN has also spoken out against the mass abduction and enslavement of Yazidi women and girls in particular. According to the BBC, tens of thousands of the Yazidi religious minority have fled the Islamic State in just the last month. Yazidi survivors, and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups, said the militants are trafficking the women for sex, corralling them into camps where victims have been brutally raped and beaten by ISIL and ISIS fighters. While there is no confirmed number, more than 3,000 Yazidi are believed to have been captured, with more than 5,000 men, women, and children still unaccounted for.

Media Resources: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 10/2/14; United Nations News Centre 9/25/14; United Nations Iraq 9/25/14; BBC News 9/24/14


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