The Islamic State group has been taking Iraqi boys, some of them retarded, and using them in suicide attacks, the United Nations said this week.
In addition, IS militants are selling abducted Iraqi children at markets as sex slaves, and killing other youth, including by crucifixion or burying them alive, according to a Reuters report.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said that Iraqi boys aged under 18 are increasingly being used by the militant group as suicide bombers, bomb makers, informants or human shields to protect facilities against U.S.-led air strikes, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said.
"We are really deeply concerned at torture and murder of those children, especially those belonging to minorities, but not only from minorities," committee expert Renate Winter told a news briefing. "The scope of the problem is huge."
The young victims are not only Christian but Yazidis, Shi’ites and Sunnis, as well, Winter said.
"We have had reports of children, especially children who are mentally challenged, who have been used as suicide bombers, most probably without them even understanding," Winter told Reuters.
The U.N. body, which reviewed Iraq’s record for the first time since 1998, denounced "the systematic killing of children belonging to religious and ethnic minorities by the so-called ISIL, including several cases of mass executions of boys, as well as reports of beheadings, crucifixions of children and burying children alive."
A large number of children have been killed or badly wounded during air strikes or shelling by Iraqi security forces, while others had died of "dehydration, starvation and heat", it said.
ISIL has committed "systematic sexual violence," including "the abduction and sexual enslavement of children," it said.
"Children of minorities have been captured in many places… sold in the market place with tags, price tags on them, they have been sold as slaves," Winter said, giving no details.