ISIS extremists in Mosul, Iraq, reportedly executed a group of 19 Yazidi girls who refused to have sex with members of the group. The girls were reportedly placed in iron cages and burned alive in front of hundreds of people on June 2.
"They were punished for refusing to have sex with ISIS militants," local activist Abdullah al-Malla told ARA News.
ISIS' invasion of the Yazidis' homeland in northern Iraq in August 2014 caused a mass displacement of nearly 400,000 people, according to BDNews24. More than 3,000 Yazidi girls were taken by the extremists as sex slaves.
The Yazidi province of Sinjar was recaptured by Kurdish forces from ISIS on Nov. 13, 2015. The Kurds had received air cover from coalition forces fighting ISIS in the region, reports Fox News.
Kurdish forces recently have found more than five mass graves in the region, where hundreds of civilians were executed by ISIS.
Many of the women captured as sex slaves in August 2014 remain in ISIS captivity almost two years later, as they were sold across the group's territory in Iraq and Syria.
Human Rights Watch has called for ISIS to release the girls since they were captured in 2014.
“The longer they are held by ISIS, the more horrific life becomes for Yazidi women, bought and sold, brutally raped, their children torn from them,” according to Sky Wheeler, a researcher at HRW.
According to the HRW:
Many of the abuses, including torture, sexual slavery, and arbitrary detention, would be war crimes if committed in the context of the armed conflict, or crimes against humanity if they were part of ISIS policy during a systematic or widespread attack on the civilian population.
The abuses against Yezidi women and girls documented by Human Rights Watch, including the practice of abducting women and girls and forcibly converting them to Islam and/or forcibly marrying them to ISIS members, may be part of a genocide against Yazidis.