The United Nations said Tuesday nearly 19,000 people were killed in Iraq between January 2014 and October of last year, while more than 3 million left their homes.
The rise in violence coincided with the Islamic State group’s seizing of large areas in northern and western Iraq, which drew international attention in mid-2014, and the beginning of U.S. airstrikes targeting the militants in August of that year.
“Even the obscene casualty figures fail to accurately reflect exactly how terribly civilians are suffering in Iraq,” said U.N. rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein. “The figures capture those who were killed or maimed by overt violence, but countless others have died from the lack of access to basic food, water or medical care.”
The report says the militants are believed to be holding 3,500 sexual slaves, mostly from the Yazidi minority, and continue to carry out “systemic and widespread violations and abuses of international human rights law.” It also notes complaints about rights abuses by pro-government forces.