BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraqi women and children suspected of having links to the Daesh terrorist group through their male relatives are being sexually exploited, Amnesty International said in a Tuesday report.
According to the U.S.-based rights watchdog, the report was compiled based on interviews with 92 women at eight internally-displaced persons (IDP) camps in Iraq’s Nineveh and Saladin provinces.
The report claims to reveal “widespread discrimination against women living in IDP camps by security forces, camp administrators and the local authorities, who believe that they are affiliated with [Daesh]”.
“Desperate and isolated, these women are at heightened risk of sexual exploitation by security forces, armed guards and members of militias working in and around the camps,” the report reads.
It goes on to document “the plight of thousands of female-headed families left to fend for themselves in IDP camps after male family members were killed or arbitrarily arrested… while fleeing [Daesh]-held areas in and around Mosul”.
The report quotes Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty’s Middle East research director, as saying: “Iraqi women and children with perceived ties to [Daesh] are being punished for crimes they did not commit.”
“These families,” she adds, “must be allowed to return home without fear of intimidation, arrest or attack.”
Daesh overran vast swathes of northern and western Iraq in mid-2014. But its military presence was largely destroyed late last year following a nine-month Iraqi army campaign centered on the northern city of Mosul.