Some 500 Yazidis have been killed in Iraq by Islamic State (IS) militants, according to a report by Reuters.
Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani, Iraq’s human rights minister, said that the IS militants were burying people alive and taking women as slaves.
“We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs from the IS have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar,” Al-Sudani told Reuters.
Al-Sudani’s comments come as US forces have begun launching strikes against IS positions in Iraq, in part as a response to the militants targeting the Yazidis in the country.
“In some of the images we have obtained there are lines of dead Yazidis who have been shot in the head while the Islamic State fighters cheer and wave their weapons over the corpses,” said Sudani. “This is a vicious atrocity.”
Iraq’s small Yazidi community is considered heretical by IS, who follows a strict brand of Sunni Islam.
“We spoke to some of the Yazidis who fled from Sinjar. We have dozens of accounts and witness testimonies describing painful scenes of how Islamic State fighters arrived and took girls from their families by force to use them as slaves,” Sudani said.
“The terrorist IS has also taken at least 300 Yazidi women as slaves and locked some of them inside a police station in Sinjar and transferred others to the town of Tal Afar. We are afraid they will take them outside the country.”
“The international community should submit to the fact that the atrocities of the Islamic State will not stop in Iraq and could be repeated somewhere else if no urgent measures were taken to neutralise this terrorist group,” Sudani said.
“It’s now the responsibility of the international community to take a firm stand against the Islamic State and reach a consensus on a legitimate decision to start a war on the IS to stop genocides and atrocities against civilians.”