UN report: Nearly 19,000 civilians killed in Iraq since 2014

UN report: Nearly 19,000 civilians killed in Iraq since 2014
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Almost 19,000 civilians were killed in Iraq from the beginning of 2014 to Oct. 31, 2015, according to a United Nations report released Tuesday.

“The violence suffered by civilians in Iraq remains staggering,” the report says.

“The so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) continues to commit systematic and widespread violence and abuses of international human rights law and humanitarian law. These acts may, in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide,” the report's authors added, using an alternative name for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In addition to the deaths, another 36,245 civilians were wounded.

The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report, based largely on information from victims, survivors and witnesses, cautions that the number of casualties could be higher, because it’s difficult to verify incidents and the number who died from secondary causes is unknown.

“Even the obscene casualty figures fail to accurately reflect exactly how terribly civilians are suffering in Iraq,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement. “The figures capture those who were killed or maimed by overt violence, but countless others have died from the lack of access to basic food, water or medical care.”

The 46-page report also details a slew of other abuses by ISIS, including forcing 3,500 people, mostly Yezidi women and children, into slavery.

Additionally, between 800 and 900 children were abducted from Mosul for religious and military training.

The report also describes five times during which at least 19 gay men were killed by being thrown from the roofs of buildings.

Some causalities and abuses against civilians were also caused by the Iraqi security forces and associated forces, according to the report. Associated forces include militia and tribal forces, popular mobilization units and the Kurdish Peshmerga force.

“The conduct of pro-government forces’ operations raises concern that they are carried out without taking all feasible precautions to protect the civilian population and civilian objects,” the report says. “In particular, UNAMI/OHCHR continued to receive reports of civilian casualties caused by airstrikes.”