Regime used rape as weapon of war in Syria – UN
Date: 2018-03-15 17:22
The Assad regime forces and allied militias have raped and sexually assaulted women, girls and men in a campaign to punish opposition communities - acts that constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, UN investigators said on Thursday.
The 29-page report by UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, released on Thursday, "I lost my dignity: Sexual and gender-based violence in the Syrian Arab Republic", is based on 454 interviews with survivors, relatives of survivors, defectors, doctors, lawyers, and examines the perpetration of sexual and gender-based violence by parties since the uprising in March 2011 through December 2017.
The report also said Islamic State (IS) has executed women, men and children on charges of adultery, forced girls into marriage and persecuted homosexuals.
Regime forces raped civilians of both sexes during house searches and ground operations in the early stages of the conflict, and later at checkpoints and detention facilities, it said. The youngest known victim was a nine-year-old girl.
The independent experts led by Paulo Pinheiro, who have compiled confidential lists of suspects since 2011, did not name individual perpetrators but said they had documented "numerous" cases of rapes by high-level officers.
Branches where rapes took place included Aleppo, Deraa, Homs, Hama and Damascus, as well as Sednaya military prison and the air force intelligence branch at Mezzeh military airport, both near the capital, the report said.
"Sexual violence against females and males is used to force confessions, to extract information, as punishment as well as to terrorise opposition communities," the report said.
Victims suffered shame, depression, incontinence, impotence and miscarriages, and rejection by their families, it said.
The investigators said that incidents had occurred in the context of sectarianism or revenge attacks.