The NGO Amnesty International warns Thursday of the psychological and psychological state “very worrying” of nearly 2,000 Yazidi children who had been held captive by the terrorist group Islamic State (IS). Back in their family, they suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety or depression in particular.
Between 2014 and 2017, the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) abducted many Yazidi children, a Kurdish-speaking community victim “a genocide according to the terms of the UN”, notes Amnesty International. Some 1,990 of them have returned to their families, where they face “immense difficulties”, according to a report released Thursday by the human rights NGO.
“Kidnapped, tortured, forced to fight, raped and subjected to a host of terrible human rights violations at the hands of ISIS”, many children returned to their families suffer from lasting effects, illnesses or disabling physical disorders, according to Amnesty. The most common mental disorders are post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.
Many children are also aggressive, have nightmares, withdraw from social interactions or suffer from mood disorders.
Two groups of children face particular challenges: former child soldiers and girls subjected to sexual violence. Thousands of Yazidi boys were indeed forced to fight. On their return, they “suffer from isolation (…) because their families and communities find it difficult to accept what they experienced during their captivity. Most have undergone intense propaganda, indoctrination and military training, for the deliberate purpose to erase their old identity, language and name “, explains Amnesty.
Yazidi girls have been victims of sexual violence and suffer from health problems, such as traumatic fistulas, scars and difficulty conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term.
Meanwhile, hundreds of young Yazidi women and girls had children when they were reduced to sexual slavery by ISIS.
These children are often not accepted by the Yazidi community. The NGO has collected the testimonies of many mothers who have “been pressured, coerced or duped” to abandon their children. A separation that causes great psychological suffering. Amnesty International calls on the Iraqi authorities and the international community to help these children, “guarantee full reparations for violations of the rights of these children and offer them all the support to which they are entitled”. To prepare its report, the NGO interviewed, in February 2020, 29 victims held in captivity when they were children, 25 family members of child victims and 68 experts and representatives of the authorities.