Iraqi Yazidis forced to convert to Islam and marry by IS: HRW
Yazidi women who fled violence in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar sit at a school where they are taking shelter in Dohuk - AFP

CAIRO: Many women from the Yazidi minority are forced into marriage with fighters in the Islamic State group in Iraq, stated Human Rights Watch Sunday.

“The Islamic State’s litany of horrific crimes against the Yezidis in Iraq only keeps growing,” said Fred Abrahams, special adviser at Human Rights Watch. “We heard shocking stories of forced religious conversions, forced marriage, and even sexual assault and slavery – and some of the victims were children.”

Several testimonials were mentioned in the released statement, including the story of Naveen, a girl who escaped along with four other girls between 3 and 10 years old.

She said that she saw a group of the IS fighters taking girls from the building that she was held in, they were between 12 and 20 years old, and they were forced to marry from those fighters, but days later they returned to the prison again.

HRW said it had interviewed a number of Yazidi families and women who said that IS kidnapped a large number of them earlier in August and since then, they were forced to marry them and to convert to Islam.

One of the escaped boys called Khider, told HRW he was forced to convert to Islam, and when the IS fighters asked them if there were any of them who don’t want to convert his religion they remained silence, as they knew that if they said anything, they would be killed.

According to a United Nations report in July 2013, more than 500,000 of  Yezidis and other minorities had escaped from north Iraq into Kurdistan, but last August the militant group invaded their territory.

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