$17m for IS victims

OTTAWA – Canada’s foreign minister has pledged $CAN10million ($F17.1m) to help victims of sexual violence and human rights abuses that he said were perpetrated by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Minister John Baird told parliament on Monday that the organisation’s “brutality is matched only by its depravity.

“In one case over the summer it herded up 150 women and girls, mostly Christians and Yazidis, and sent them to Syria to be given to (IS) fighters either as a reward or to be sold as sex slaves,” he said.

“Iraqi forces capturing towns from (IS fighters) have reported finding naked women tied to trees.”

The minister announced $CAN5m ($F8.5m) for Justice Rapid Response and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate rapes and rights abuses. A further $CAN5m ($8.5m) will be used for the prevention of and response to sexual violence, including increased access to services and treatment for Syrian and Iraqi refugees and others who have been victims of violence in ISIL-affected areas, he said.

Mr Baird made the pledge at the start of a House of Commons debate on whether Canada should join an international coalition launching air strikes on the Islamist State group in Iraq.

The Commons is expected to greenlight the military mission in a vote on Tuesday.