Yazidi refugees
Islamic State has been systematically attacking people from the Yazidi ethnic minorityREUTERS/Rodi

The United Nations has released a report on the human rights situation in Iraq, stating that Islamic State (Isis) may have committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in its attacks against ethnic and religious groups in the country.

The report was published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights following a mission to Iraq to investigate alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law by Isis and various other terrorist groups there. It was based on first-hand accounts from "independent, credible and reliable sources".

The study, which takes into account the situation between June 2014 and February 2015, refers to "acts of violence perpetrated against civilians because of their affiliation or perceived affiliation to an ethnic or religious group", stating that considering all the information these attacks "may constitute genocide".

The UN identified that most of the captives as well as those killed were from the Yazidi community and the information points to the "intent of ISIL to destroy the Yazidi as a group".

Christians were also being targeted by the Isis, with an estimated 200,000 Christians and members of other ethnic and religious groups having fled areas that were being taken over by the terrorist group before August 2014. Additionally, the report stated that attacks were perpetrated against Turkmen, Shabak and other Shia groups.

It also highlighted the violations carried out by the Iraqi security forces and associated militia groups, including killings, torture and abductions, with some incidents pointing, at the very least, to a failure by the government to protect people under its jurisdiction.

Commenting on the situation in Iraq, UN's human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said: "Even the obscene casualty figures fail to accurately reflect exactly how terribly civilians are suffering in Iraq. 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."