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Nearly 19,000 Iraqi Civilians Killed in Two Years


Civilians inspect the scene of bomb attack in Jameela market in the Iraqi capital's crowded Sadr City neighborhood Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015.

Civilians inspect the scene of bomb attack in Jameela market in the Iraqi capital's crowded Sadr City neighborhood Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015.


The United Nations says that nearly 19,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the fighting with Islamic State militants in the past two years.

In addition to the 18,800 civilians deaths, the United Nations report says another 36,000 were wounded between January 2014 and October 2015.

The report includes interviews from victims, survivors or witnesses of violations.

Ravina Shamdasani is a U.N. human rights spokesperson. She says the numbers do not fully represent what is happening in Iraq. The report only includes the number of people directly killed by violence. It does not include many others who have died from lack of access to food, water or medical care.

UN blames Islamic State

U.N. observers blame most of these deaths on Islamic State militants. They say victims include those seen as being opposed to the terror group’s rule. Victims have included government civil servants, doctors and lawyers, journalists and tribal and religious leaders. The report says women and children are subject to sexual violence and sexual slavery.

The report finds that people judged by Islamic State's self-appointed courts face punishments, such as stoning and amputations. It details examples of public executions. The examples include shootings, beheadings, burning people alive and throwing people off of buildings.

Crimes against humanity

The U.N. spokesperson says some of the incidents are war crimes and crimes against humanity. She says the Islamic State targets ethnic and religious minorities.

The U.N. finds pro-government forces also are guilty of human rights violations. It says it has received reports of unlawful killings and other abuses by those forces. The U.N. report notes some of these incidents may have been actions against supposed Islamic State supporters.

Lisa Schlein reported on this story for VOANews.com. Ashley Thompson adapted this story for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

spokesperson - n. a person who speaks for someone else or a group

access - n. a way of getting at or near someone or something

journalists - n. news reporters; media workers

amputate – v. to cut off (part of a person's body)

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