About 19,000 civilians were killed in 21 months in Iraq’s ongoing conflict, while over 35,000 were injured during that time, a report Tuesday by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said. The report came amid the continuing struggle by a U.S.-led intervention and Iraq’s security forces to beat the Islamic State group that has been trying to establish a caliphate in the region.
The OHCHR said, in a statement citing the report, at least 18,802 civilians were killed between January 2014 and October 2015, while another 3.2 million people were displaced from their homes since January 2014.
“The violence suffered by civilians in Iraq remains staggering. The so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL or ISIS) 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,” OHCHR said in its statement Tuesday.
Of the total casualties calculated by the organization, at least 3,855 civilians were killed and over 7,000 were injured between 1 May and 31 Oct. 2015. Among those displaced, over a million were children who could attend school, according to the report.
The statement from OHCHR added that nearly 900 children were abducted by ISIS from Mosul in northern Iraq for religious education and military training. The report also said the militant group, which has claimed responsibility for several attacks over the past year, “continued to subject” women and children to slavery and sexual violence.
Several instances of the killings and the abuses by the militant group and by other “militia and tribal forces, popular mobilization units, and Peshmerga” were also reportedly documented in the report.
Ján Kubiš, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, said in the statement by OHCHR: “Despite their steady losses to pro-government forces, the scourge of ISIL continues to kill, maim and displace Iraqi civilians in the thousands and to cause untold suffering. I strongly reiterate my call to all parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians from the effects of violence.”
He also called for the international community to help the Iraqi government’s “humanitarian, stabilization and reconstruction efforts” in areas that have been freed from ISIS, and appealed to the Iraqi government to “ensure” law and order.
During last week, ISIS killed over 50 people in attacks targeting Baghdad and Diyala province in Iraq.