Iraqi Kurds deny torturing ISIS child soldiers

Minors being trained by ISIS militants under the banner "Cubs of the Caliphate" to join the battlefronts. File photo

ARA News

In response to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Sunday denied that Kurdish security forces subjected seventeen children to abuse and torture.

“KRG authorities have established policies against acts of torture, which strongly prohibits physical and psychological torture of inmates,” Dr. Dindar Zebari, the Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government High Committee to Evaluate and Respond to International Reports said on Sunday.

“In response to HRW today, the use of torture and physical punishment against prisoners including boys ages 11-17 is strictly prohibited. In Kurdistan region the rights of detainees are protected by the existing amended legislations and practices within the region,” he added.

According to HRW, seventeen children, that were detained by Kurdish security forces on suspicion of involvement with ISIS, claimed they were tortured or abused.

The HRW says there are at least 183 boys the KRG has been holding on ISIS-related accusations, most, if not all, apparently without charge or access to a lawyer.

“Legitimate security concerns do not give security forces license to beat, manhandle, or use electric shocks on children,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Many children escaping from ISIS are victims who need help, yet face further abuse by Asayish forces.”

“KRG authorities should ensure the well-being of children captured after living under ISIS and not mistreat them,” Fakih said. “The brutal abuse of children produces false confessions, can cause lifelong suffering, and blurs the moral line between ISIS and its foes.”

The Islamic State group has recruited children and is training the so-called ‘Cubs of the Caliphate‘ for war. ISIS child soldiers have been involved in the recent battles in Mosul.

ISIS has even used underaged boys to execute prisoners and published videos of these executions for propaganda purposes. A recent ISIS propaganda video showed children carrying out building-clearance and killing prisoners that were used as targeting practice.

Experts worry these children could serve as a new generation for Jihadist groups, even after ISIS is defeated on the ground.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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