UN COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON SYRIA: ISIS IS COMMITTING GENOCIDE AGAINST THE YAZIDIS

A press release by the Commission of Inquiry made the important point that the deliberate actions of killing, torture, enslavement, the infliction of conditions of life that bring about a slow death; the imposition of measures to prevent Yazidi children from being born, including forced conversion of adults, the separation of Yazidi men and women, and mental trauma; and the transfer of Yazidi children from their own families and placing them with ISIS fighters, thereby cutting them off from beliefs and practices of their own religious community were all practices which indicated that the crime committed against the Yazidi population was one of genocide.

Mr. Pinheiro stressed that there must be no impunity for crimes of this nature, recalling States’ obligations under the Genocide Convention to prevent and to punish genocide. The Commission repeated its call for the Security Council to refer urgently the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, or to establish an ad hoc tribunal to prosecute the myriad of violations of international law committed during the non-international armed conflict.

Allied Rainbow Communities International noted:

The Report details the horrific crimes committed by ISIS against Yazidi women and girls. The Report in its recommendations emphasizes the different nature of the crimes committed against the children according to their sex. It powerfully shows how sexual slavery and violence are systematically committed against women and girls. However, we would like to highlight that there are also reports of how captured boys have also been subjected to sexual violence. Sexual violence perpetrated against boys and men, whether by ISIS, the Syrian regime, or other factions, remains an issue that is shrouded in shame and secrecy and is rendered invisible. Targeting the sexuality of women and girls as well as men and boys is an integral part of ISIS’ genocidal project.

In that sense, ISIS’ genocidal project also targets non normative sexualities. As previous reports have shown, ISIS in both its ideology and its practice has demonstrated that its aim is not merely persecution but elimination of the entire grouping comprising those who engage in homosexual conduct.

We call upon the Commission to take forward its pioneering analysis of genocide in the context of the Yazidi community and analyze its applicability to other groups similarly targeted by ISIS including homosexuals, Kurds, Arameans and other ethnic minorities.

We also call upon the Commission in future reports to analyze the ways in which sexual violence and rape perpetrated against men and boys can constitute both genocide and a crime against humanity.