UN Special Representatives Concerned by Reports of Sexual Violence in Iraq

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-08_a258fccf38.jpgPurestock/Thinkstock (BAGHDAD) -- In a statement, a pair of United Nations special representatives expressed concern over continued reports of sexual violence occuring in Iraq. Special Representative to the Security General for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, and Special Representative to the Secretary General for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, issued a joint statement Wednesday, saying they were "gravely concerned" by the reports.

"Atrocious accounts on the abduction and detention of Yazidi, Christian, as well as Turkomen and Shabak women, girls and boys, and reports of savage rapes, are reaching us in an alarming manner," the statement read.

The statement said that as many as 1,500 individuals may have been forced into sexual slavery.

"We condemn, in the strongest terms, the explicit targeting of women and children and the barbaric acts [ISIS] has perpetrated on minorities in areas under its control," Mladenov and Bangura said. They also called on regional governments and the international community to press for the release of the women and children currently being held against their will.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio