A United Nations official has expressed grave concerns regarding the situation of women in war torn Iraq.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN under-secretary general and executive director of UN Women, made a statement on Tuesday regarding the situation of women in Iraq, and expressed how the UN is outraged by the targeting of women and girls in Iraq and reports of kidnapping, rape and forced marriage by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
"The leader of ISIL has called on Muslims worldwide to take up arms and flock to the "caliphate" it had declared on captured Syrian and Iraqi soil," Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Mlambo-Ngcuka said that the targeting of women and girls is nothing but a violation of human rights.
UN Women is especially concerned by the risks to women’s rights posed by growing extremism in various parts of the region and worldwide.
AFP reported on 22 June that the militants, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group, have begun imposing an extreme interpretation of Islamic law in the days since they took the city.
"We are deeply concerned by recent reports; four women have committed suicide after being raped or forced to marry ISIL militants," Mlambo-Ngcuka stated.
AFP reported that the Sunni militants said that women are to wear non-revealing clothes and keep to their homes.
"We have also received reports of men committing suicide after being forced to watch their wives and daughters being raped," the UN women official added.
Mlambo-Ngcuka said that UN Women strongly condemns sexual and gender-based violence, and calls on all parties to address such reports and protect the rights of Iraqi women and girls.
UN Women has received reports that an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis have fled their homes.
In such circumstances, women and girls are especially vulnerable to violence and exploitation.
Islamist militants have since the beginning of June overrun major areas of five provinces and driven to within less than 100 kilometres (60 miles) of Baghdad.
"It is with regret that UN Women notes that the Iraqi parliament did not manage to start the political process of forming a new government," Mlambo-Ngcuka stated.
Mlambo-Ngcuka mentioned that only a political solution can help end the violence.
It was mentioned in the statement that UN Women joins Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in calling for the immediate formation of an inclusive government and in calling on all sides to cease targeting civilians and take immediate and urgent steps to ensure that vulnerable populations are protected from violence.