Human Rights Watch says Iraq and the Kurdish regional government have charged hundreds of children with terrorism for alleged affiliation with the Islamic State group, often using torture to coerce confessions.
The New York-based group released a report on Wednesday estimating that Iraqi and Kurdish authorities were holding approximately 1,500 children for alleged IS affiliation in detention at the end of 2018.
Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director for HRW, said this “sweeping punitive approach is not justice” and warned it would create lifelong negative consequences for many of the children.
The report said kids recruited by armed groups should be recognized primarily as victims who should be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.
Iraq declared victory against IS in December 2017 after three years of battles.