Iraq report highlights disabled children used in terror attacks

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Iraqi women and children. UN Photo/John Isaac

Child abuse is continuing in Iraq where disabled children have been used to carry out terrorist attacks in a belief it will cure them, it emerged on Thursday.

In a UN report on Iraq, human rights experts also detailed child prostitution and child pornography, along with other harmful practices targeting girls, such as female genital mutilation, early and forced marriage and honour crimes.

The findings were published in an annual review of countries by the UN's Committee of the Rights of the Child.

It's meeting in Geneva where 12 countries' child rights policies are under the spotlight.

The experts who contributed to the report said that many of Iraq's problems pre-dated the invasion by Islamic State terrorists in 2014.

In response, Iraqi delegates said that child recruitment only happened in places controlled by IS.

They added that IS gangs had abducted 858 children since June 2014.

Mohammed Mahdi Ameen Al-Bayati , the Iraqi minister for human rights who contributed to the report, said that terrorist groups had perpetrated war crimes including disappearances and sexual slavery against children.

Mr Al-Bayati added that the country's security problems were having a direct effect on children, causing displacement and affecting their rights to access to education and health.

But he said that Iraq had achieved progress in combating poverty, illiteracy, domestic violence and human trafficking and protecting people with disabilities.

The report is part of an annual review of countries by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that winds up in Geneva on Friday 30 January.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations.

Duration: 1’42″

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