Yazidi women and girls subjected to military sexual slavery

'I wished I was killed': Yazidi ISIS slave shares her harrowing story
CBC, July 25, 2016

August marks the second anniversary of a brutal chapter in the ongoing story of ISIS. In August 2014, fighters with the extremist group carried out a massacre in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq. Thousands were killed, thousands more girls and women were kidnapped as sex slaves, and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee.

    'He raped me and used me for a couple of days.'
    - Nadia Murad Basee Taha held captive by ISIS

Most of those affected were Yazidi. Nadia Murad Basee Taha is a young Yazidi woman who now lives in Germany. Her life took a horrific turn in 2014 when ISIS fighters arrived in her village. She shares her story of trauma and escape with The Current's host Laura Lynch.

"We were separated from our families and taken to Mosul. At that moment we knew we were being taken to be used for rape and to be sold."

Iraqi Yazidi Nadia Murad Basee Taha has been calling on Canada to help Yazidis with the immigration and asylum process. She says 'our people have been suffering for the past two years and they must be helped.'

Taha explains what she had to endure as a captive of ISIS, "He took me. He raped me and used me for a couple of days. This is what they would do. They would keep the girls for a day or two days a week then they would pass them to a different one."

    ' I wished they had killed us all.'
    - Nadia Murad Basee Taha

Yazidis are an ethnic minority group in Iraq that practice an ancient religion. They are considered "devil worshippers" by supporters of ISIS and treated like property, exchanged as "gifts."

"I wished I was killed, or starved, or died on the mountain like the other Yazidis instead of being someone with no value to be used by the terrorists whatever way they wished to use us." Taha tells Lynch.

"I wished that when they killed our brothers, our mothers, I wished they had killed us all as well."

The United Nations has called the 2014 massacre a genocide. Taha spoke to the UN Security Council about her horrific time as a slave to ISIS.

"After I was freed I thought that the world would bring justice to us. That the world would be fair to us. But nothing has happened. We still have 3,000 people in captivity," Taha tells Lynch.

In Ottawa, advocates and Opposition MPs have asked the Canadian government to allow for the resettlement of five to 10,000 of the most vulnerable Yazidis. On July 19, Taha was in Ottawa and shared her story to a Parliamentary Committee studying how Canada's immigration system deals with particularly vulnerable groups like the Yazidis.

It's not known how many Yazidi refugees have been resettled in Canada since 2014 because the federal government does not track the race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity of refugees. But Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel claims that only nine cases have been processed.

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this web post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Kristin Nelson.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-july-25-2016-1.3...

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'The world is simply silent': Yazidi woman enslaved by ISIS tells Parliament her story
CTV National News: Yazidis desperate for help
 
Yazidi Nadia Taha told her heartbreaking story to a parliamentary committee today to plead for help for her people. Joyce Napier reports.
CTVNews.ca Extra: ISIS rape survivor speaks out
 
Nadia Murad Basee Taha survived the massacre of her family and sexual enslavement by ISIS militants. She shares her story with Joyce Napier.

CTVNews.ca Staff, July 19, 2016

A Yazidi woman who was forced into sex slavery by the Islamic State is urging the Canadian government to formally recognize the systematic killing of her people as genocide.

Speaking at the House of Commons on Tuesday, Nadia Murad Basee Taha recounted to MPs the atrocities committed against the Kurdish minority group at the hands of Islamic militants.

"When they took us, the girls and children, we were not simply held prisoner. They committed crimes against us, they forced us to change our religion, they raped us, they sold us," she told the House of Commons immigration committee through a translator.
Related Stories

Nadia Murad Basee Taha, a Yazidi woman who was captured by ISIS militants and forced into sex slavery, spoke in the House of Commons Tuesday and told Canadian politicians first-hand about the atrocities committed against the Kurdish minority group.

Taha was living with her family in northern Iraq in August 2014 when ISIS militants stormed her village and chased her community into the Sinar mountains. Trapped in the remote wilderness, thousands of Yazidis were killed, taken hostage or starved to death. Men were slaughtered and women were sold into sex slavery, and scores of Yazidis were killed if they didn’t submit to their captors and convert to Islam.

Taha managed to escape with the help of an Iraqi family who lent her an Islamic ID and snuck her away from the chaos under a hijab. She later escaped and resettled in Germany.

“I was lucky, I had help,” she told CTV News.

But her family wasn’t so fortunate.

“I never got the chance to say goodbye to my mother, to my six brothers who were murdered,” Taha said.

The United Nations human rights panel recently declared the killings to be genocide. Taha has travelled to 17 countries to share her story, and she spoke in Ottawa in hopes of getting Canadian officials to formally recognize the bloodshed.

"This continues today against more than 3,000 women and children," she told the committee. "The world is simply silent.”

Taha’s comments came as the federal immigration committee holds a series of hearings this week into the plight of the Yazidi people.

Conservative MPs have cited the 2014 killings as a reason for Yazidis to have their Canadian resettlement papers fast-tracked. They have also urged the Liberals to increase the number of refugee applications being accepted from Iraq in 2016 to allow more Canadians to privately sponsor Yazidis.

But Liberals have clashed with Conservatives over whether religion should be the sole determining factor in deciding an applicant’s eligibility for resettlement.

While religion or ethnicity may be a reason someone seeks out refugee status, the UN does not explicitly make resettlement decisions based on religion or ethnicity. Conservatives have said they want the policy changed, but the Liberals have not challenged the UN rule.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/the-world-is-simply-silent-yazidi-wo...

Human Rights Leader: Justice Needed for Thousands of Yazidi Women and Girls Being Raped by Terrorists
By Penny Starr | July 29, 2016
Murad Ismael, executive director of the non-profit YAZDA advocacy group, spoke at a religious freedom conference at Georgetown University on July 28, 2016. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – The head of a human rights organization dedicated to helping save the Yazidis in Iraq and Syria from kidnapping, rape and death at the hands of terrorists said at a conference on Thursday that the world cannot expect the Yazidis to reconcile with the perpetrators and others in the region while thousands of women and girls are still being held captive, many of whom are “being raped every day.”

“For anyone to bring reconciliation I would tell them bring the justice … first before you ask for reconciliation,” Murad Ismael, executive director of the non-profit YAZDA advocacy group, said at a religious liberty conference at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs in Washington, D.C.

“It is very painful to me when I sit with someone while I still have 3,200 women and girls in captivity that are being raped every day,” Ismael said. “It’s very painful to me that you ask me to reconcile.”

The sometimes tense discussion between dozens of representatives of religious minorities and other factions from Iraq and Syria and other human rights activists focused on what can be done to protect religious minorities that are being ravaged by Islamic State terrorists.

Ismael called what his community has faced “genocide” and “a holocaust” and said that the public needs to know that is a fact and that Muslims not affiliated with the terrorists should speak out.

“I mean one thing I would have expected all the Muslims in the world to come out and say that the enslavement of the Yazidi women was not right – something that I never heard – that I can challenge whoever wants to bring a question, that the Muslim clerics internationally never came out against the genocide, never came out, never said that the rape of the Yazidi women was not in line with the Sharia for example,” Ismael said, adding that he believes that the Islamic State terrorists do not represent Islam or any religion.

Ismael said that his community needed justice before it could back any kind of reconciliation.

“So for the international community to ask me for a solution is not fair,” he said, adding that the terrorists should face an international criminal court and not be allowed to participate in any government post-Islamic State.  

“I think the international community should stand up for its obligations," Ismael said. “There must be clear recognition of the genocide with every parliament – with the public.

“The public should know that the Yazidis were subject to genocide," Ismael said.

The conference featured representatives from human rights organizations, religious leaders and officials from the Obama administration, including the U.S. Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom David Saperstein, who said the U.S. is “making progress” in its efforts to defeat the Islamic State.

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/human-rights-leader...


Syndicated News
Yazidi Woman Recognizes Her ISIS Abuser in Germany
http://en.abna24.com
Posted 2016-07-20

A Kurdish Yazidi woman who survived the so-called Islamic State (ISIS/IS) captivity accidently saw her IS abuser in Germany.

The Kurdish Yazidi woman who is now receiving psychological treatment in Germany happened to see the IS militant who had maltreated her for four months while she was in IS captivity, Al-Alam News Channel reported on Sunday.

The IS militant who is said to be of Syrian origin is now living with his family in a refugee camp in Germany.

Abu Shuja'a Dinayi, an activist in freeing Yazidi women from IS, told Sputnik that the Yazidi woman has recognized the IS miltant in a market in Baden, Germany.

The Yazidi woman has informed the German police about the IS militant who had assaulted her for four months, he said.

After IS militants attacked the Yazidi town of Sinjar in mid-2014, they carried out various types of atrocities against Yazidis in the area. They abducted nearly 5,000 Yazidi women and girls and enslaved them in the IS-held territories in Iraq and Syria. Around 2,000 of the abducted Yazidis however have so far been freed from the grip of the militants.

http://www.aina.org/news/20160719200041.htm

The Girl Who Beat Isis: My Story review – inside the horror of Isis
by Joan Smith, The Guardian, August 1, 2016


Farida Khalaf’s harrowing account of sadism and sexual torture is lifted by her bravery
A street market in Raqqa, Syria
A street market in Raqqa, Syria, the city where Farida and other women were taken to be sold as slaves. Photograph: Reuters
Joan Smith

Monday 1 August 2016 07.30 BST

First, some good news. The young Yazidi woman whose story is told in this harrowing book is now safe in Germany, where she is finishing her education. She has been reunited with her mother and younger brothers, who were taken from their village in north-eastern Iraq and kept prisoner by Isis for months. Despite what has happened to her, she is determined to fulfil her long-held ambition to become a maths teacher.

But Farida’s father is missing, presumed dead, and her best friend is still a captive of the self-styled caliphate in Iraq. Even Farida’s name is a pseudonym, adopted to protect her from Isis sympathisers in Europe and the “shame” of having been repeatedly raped by her captors. The book is an unflinching account of the sadistic beatings and sexual torture imposed on a 19-year-old girl by one of the most misogynistic terrorist organisations operating anywhere in the world.

The fact that Isis explicitly encourages its fanatical followers to buy, sell and rape women is well known. Most of the girls enslaved in this way are from Yazidi villages near Mount Sinjar, where their families have lived side by side with Muslim villages for centuries. The Yazidi religion is wrongly regarded by hardline Muslims as a form of devil worship, and in August 2014, Isis fighters gave the inhabitants of Farida’s village three days to convert to Islam or suffer the fate of “infidels”.

    Farida describes how one fighter always made a point of praying in front of her before he assaulted her

What is extraordinary about Farida’s story is the way it goes behind the headlines, offering first-hand testimony of what it is like to be subjected to ethnic cleansing and sexual slavery. She offers a chilling account of how the men in her village were loaded into lorries at gunpoint and driven away to almost certain death. Her 16-year-old brother Serhad was one of only four survivors of the massacre, playing dead among a pile of corpses belonging to neighbours and friends.

Farida and the other unmarried girls were separated from the older women and taken first to the occupied city of Mosul and then to the slave market in Raqqa. “Are all of these girls really still virgins?” an excited “customer” asked the guards. When a Saudi prospective buyer stuck his fingers into Farida’s mouth, she bit him and was beaten senseless.

This terrible story is told in the first person, transcribed from lengthy interviews conducted by a German journalist, Andrea C Hoffmann, while Farida was living in a refugee camp near Dohuk in Iraq. Hoffmann met Farida a few weeks after she and five other girls managed to escape from an Isis military camp near the Omar gas field in eastern Syria, where they had been kept prisoner in shipping containers. At the time, Farida was still recovering from the physical injuries, psychological trauma and malnutrition she had experienced as a captive.

In one of the most chilling vignettes in the book, Farida describes how Amjed, a portly fighter from Azerbaijan, always made a point of praying in front of her before he assaulted her. “Each time he would carry out his religious ritual beforehand,” she recalls. A much younger girl called Besma, who eventually escaped with Farida, was beaten within an inch of her life after she used a pair of scissors to stab the Isis fighter who was raping her.
Don’t underestimate Islamic State. More atrocities are on their way
Abdel Bari Atwan
Read more

What these men are doing is not a side-effect of fighting for Isis but an essential element of their ideology. Misogyny is as encoded into the idea of the caliphate as religion, and no doubt all the more attractive to its followers as a result. It allows utterly selfish men who reject modern notions of gender equality to revel in their power over women, deliberately making the sexual act as violent as possible and leaving their young victims bruised and bleeding.

Even when Farida and her friends escaped and were helped by a people-smuggler to reach the refugee camp, their ordeal was not over. Yazidi culture regards rape victims as “defiled”, something confirmed by an elderly woman who cruelly observed that none of the girls would ever be able to marry. Her words had a devastating effect on Farida, who felt as though they “had severed the artery providing me with the will to live”. It is one of many reasons she was ready to leave the camp and start a new life in Germany.

This is one of those rare volumes that offers astonishing insights into the human spirit. Farida resists her captors from the very first moment, fighting them with every ounce of strength she has. Even after months of beatings, she is still fighting and encouraging her friends to look for ways to escape. A catalogue of horror is made bearable only by her extraordinary courage, and the solidarity among girls who literally keep one another alive.

The Girl Who Beat Isis: My Story is published by Square Peg (£14.99). Click here to buy it for £12.29

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/01/girl-who-beat-isis-my...

Home-Grown Iraqi Heroes Rescue Hundreds of Yazidi, Christian, Shabak and Muslim Women and Children from ISIS Terrorists
By: Andrew Williams, Jr and Dler Ibrahim Ismael, July 27, 2016
Universal Citizens Media Network (UCIT)

Duhok – Kurdistan Region of Iraq – While the June, 2016 Chilcot Report faults the U.K for kowtowing to the U.S. decision to initially send troops to Iraq, the Obama Administration in July, 2016, announced plans to send more troops to Iraq to battle terrorists from around the world.  As the fighting continues on Iraqi soil, Iraqi citizens are single-handedly doing the deadly work to rescue Yazidi, Christian, Shabak and Muslim women and children from the terrorists.

In the following interview, UCIT Citizen Journalist, Dler Ibrahim Ismael, interviewed one of these home grown Iraqi heroes, Abu Shujaa, who says, “We have helped rescue 465 Yazidi women and girls from the clutches of ISIS and we are ready to rescue more abducted Christian, Shabak and women from Muslim terrorists.”

When did you start task of rescue the abducted Yazidi women from the hands of ISIS terrorists?

– After ISIS occupied Sinjar city in 3.8.2014 we went to the mountain and formed defensive teams to stop the brutal ISIS attacks.

– We had lost everything when we lost our land, including our women and children. We lost the most precious thing we have in this world.

– We formed a defensive squad and not offensive. We stayed there a few days and began preparing plans to save more than 5,000 people kidnapped by the ISIS terrorists from Sinjar.

How was your first operation to rescue the abducted?

– By virtue of my personal relationships with the inhabitants in the occupied territories ISIS has captured in Syria and Iraq, I began this humanitarian mission and with God’s help began our   operation in September of 2014. We rescued seven girls in Raqqa that were in a Australian ISIS terrorist House (city of Raqqa in Syria) and we rescued more in Gaziantep City, and  then at the Ibrahim Khalil border port and returned them all to their families.

– We started from this group and thank God we have been having success in liberating in one month 45 women, girls and children from the area of Raqqa, Tabaqa, Aleppo and we have undertaken similar tasks in some areas inside Iraq.

– Altogether, we freed 377 Yazidi woman and girls and my last mission was saving one woman and two children in the Aleppo area.

Are any local or international organizations helping you in the rescue operations?

– Unfortunately, no domestic, regional or international organizations are helping now. At the beginning the Prime Minister’s Office did some help, but because of the economic conditions, such assistance has been cut.

– There are many opportunities to rescue the abducted girls and women, but because of the absence of money for equipment and vehicles we can’t save them.

– Each operation, including payments through intermediaries, costs 3000 to 5000 Dollars, depending on the quality and the remoteness of the area. We have lost many opportunities because of lack of material assistance.

How are the rescue operations carried out?

– Our teams gather information in areas controlled by the ISIS terrorists, and collect information about the places of residence of women abducted and determine the time and place to rescue them from the clutches of ISIS. Most of the cases the rescues are dangerous and risky, but our souls consider it a humanitarian act and a duty towards our compatriots.

Is there a moral support for your efforts?

– Unfortunately, there is no encouragement or support local or international; the only public honor we have received was through the “Iraqi Family Protection Fund” Discretionary award.

What about the status of women there?

– The situation is so bad till now that so far more than 70 Yazidi women have committed suicide, either they burned themselves to death, hung themselves from the roofs of houses, electrocuted themselves or drowned in rivers.

– Whenever emancipation is delayed, it becomes more difficult to free the women, especially girls, because of births from raping they become attached to their kids and also the continued brain-washing of their ideas by ISIS.

– There are other cases of groups of children being taken from these women and incarcerated in a camp near the Farouq training in Raqqa and then becoming groomed terrorist as ISIS solders.

Do you have information regarding the abduction of Christian women by terrorists?

– According to the information there are 260 Christian woman hijacked by al ISIS in the Palmyra area (an ancient city in Syria) and Deir al-Zour, been abducted from villages near Al-Hasaka. and I’m ready to rescue the Yazidi, Christian, Shabak and Muslim abducted women from terrorists.

Report By: Dler Ibrahim Ismael – Duhok – Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Andrew Williams Jr Conversations with Citizen Journalists on the Universal Citizens Media Network (UCIT)

http://galaxystocks.com/2016/07/27/home-grown-iraqi-heroes-rescue-h...

19-Y-O 'Girl Who Beat ISIS' Sex Slave Survivor Reveals Jihadists Ritualistic Prayers Before Brutal Rapes, Torture
by Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
August 1, 2016|

A 19-year-old girl who was captured, raped and tortured multiple times by ISIS jihadists in Iraq reveals her harrowing account in a new book that describes the religious rituals the men practiced before carrying out the brutal attacks on women and children.

The book, titled The Girl Who Beat ISIS, shares the story of a Yazidi teenage girl in Iraq who goes by the pseudonym, Farida Khalaf, to protect her identity.

The Guardian noted in its review of the book that it provides a first-hand account of the torture women and girls are being forced to endure in cities held by IS (also known as ISIL, ISIS, Daesh). A number of minorities, including Christians, have been made to suffer greatly at the hands of IS, with Yazidis being heavily targeted because IS regards them as devil worshipers.

Khalaf explains in the book that women are treated like property, and are paraded in slave markets in Raqqa, where buyers seek to purchase virgins.

In one of the passages, the Yazidi girl describes how one IS fighter, Amjed from Azerbaijan, prayed to their god every time he was about to assault her.

"Each time he would carry out his religious ritual beforehand," Khalaf wrote.

Girls who try to escape such slave markets are often beaten within an inch of their lives.

Still, Khalaf managed to escape IS captivity, and was reunited with her mother and younger brothers at a refugee camp.

Her father is still missing and presumed dead, and at the camp she faced new challenges since her Yazidi culture regards rape victims as "defiled" and unable to marry.

Khalaf is now studying in Germany, looking to finish her education and become a math teacher, but she knows many others like her are waiting to be rescued from the terror that IS in inflicting.

Back in February, a 21-year-old Iraqi woman, Nadia Murad, also shared her experience as an IS sex slave, and said that the things the Islamic radicals are making women go through are "more difficult than death."

"A year and a half has passed and the genocide against the Yazidis is continuous. We die every day because we see the world silent in the face of our plight," Murad said at the time.

"My mother saw them killing my brothers and then they took my mother and killed her. I was already orphaned as I didn't have a father, all I had in the war was my mother," she said of her experience.

Girls as young as 9 have been reportedly raped by IS militants, with thousands of young women held in Raqqa "meat markets," where they are bought and sold.

The buying and selling practices of top IS leaders were shared by 20-year-old Khalida, another former sex slave.

"The most beautiful women were put into a special room," she said back in March. "Then five top ISIS leaders — emirs — came to choose girls. They took away three or four girls each."

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/19-year-old-girl-who-beat-isis-se...

Yazidi Activist Nadia Murad Speaks Out on the ‘Holocaust’ of Her People in Iraq
by Eve Ensler, TIME, August 3, 2016

Two years after the Sinjar massacre, the young activist says "the entire world remains silent"

In April this year, I had the honor of writing a piece on Nadia Murad for the TIME 100 list of the most influential people of the year. Nadia is a member of the ethnic Kurdish minority Yazidi people, one of thousands who was brutally enslaved by ISIS in Iraq, who now bravely travels the world to raise awareness of the genocide.

After writing about her, I reached out to meet Nadia and find ways our movements V-Day and One Billion Rising could be in solidarity with hers, to highlight the efforts of Yazidi women and men to end genocide and sexual terrorism by ISIS.

Today is the two year anniversary of the Sinjar Massacre in northern Iraq. On that date it is estimated that 10,000 Yazidis were killed or enslaved. In the recent Chilcot inquiry in Britain on the war in Iraq, intelligence reports show that ISIS “was formed during the Iraq war of 2003 as the country and its institutions were dismantled and disenfranchised Iraqis were led to sectarianism.”

This makes the west, particularly the U.S and U.K., accountable for the crimes that have followed. The genocidal war against the Yazidi people continues, despite the courage of activists like Nadia in speaking out for justice. On Wednesday Nadia and Yazda, a global Yazidi organization have launched a campaign with One Billion Rising to stop the genocide. I spoke with Nadia recently, to get her thoughts on the anniversary of this horror:

EVE: Can you describe what happened at Sinjar two years ago?
NADIA: The attack was launched around 2 a..m in the morning on Aug. 3. Within a few a hours [ISIS] seized control of Sinjar district, a home to about 350,000 Yazidis. They gave the Yazidis one choice, convert or die. They drove these choices from their interpretation of Sharia law, as they see Yazidis as ‘infidels.’ Many men, including some elderly and disabled people who were unable to make the escape to Mount Sinjar, were killed. After killing the men, they took women and children into captivity. For the village of Kocho, my village, we could not make the escape and ISIS reached us in the early hours of the morning. They put the village under siege until Aug. 15. On that day they separated the men and killed them, and they took us, the women and children. I was also, like every other women, girl, or child from Kocho, taken into captivity. There were about 1,100 of us. These attacks happened suddenly and in just a minute we have seen ourselves powerless people within hands of thousands of terrorists when nobody had defended us.

What was your life like before?
I was the youngest girl among my siblings, a simple village girl, who perhaps was luckier than other siblings as I have the chance to go to school. I was a high school student, finished the 11th grade, during the summer I was preparing for the 12th grade, and I was hoping to be a history teacher or to work in a beauty salon as a makeup artist. I had a simple life, never left the village, never even been in a major city, my life was all in the village with friends from school and neighbours.

What became of your friends and family after ISIS attacked?
On Aug. 15, ISIS separated about 700 men and young boys from the families and took them to the outskirts of the village and massacred them. Six of my brothers were killed with the men. We believe they were killed because about 16 men from the village survived the massacres and they later told us that all men were killed. After driving us from Kocho to the Institute of Sinjar near Sinjar city, they took my mother and around 60 other women and killed them too. ISIS was not interested in enslaving them as they were old. We were not sure of their death until this area was recaptured and a mass grave was found. All in all, 18 individuals from my family are missing including my 6 brothers and my mother, my brother`s wives, my nephews and nieces.

What happened to you after leaving Sinjar?
I was taken with some 150 girls, ranging in age from about 9 to 28 years old, to Mosul where we were distributed from the distribution centers. In these centers, ISIS militants and others will come and take us and use us for as long they wished, then return us to the center. I was like all other women and girls, raped and tortured.

How did you get out of Iraq?
I managed to escape from them. I was very lucky as many others remain in captivity who could not escape. After escape I lived in the refugee camp for about one year. Then I managed to immigrate to Germany through their program to treat women and girls who managed to escape captivity. Germany is the only country to offer help and support to ISIS survivors by giving them 2 years visa program for treating and hosting them in Germany. 1,100 survivors, including their family members, have benefit from these program, we hope that other countries would do same.

On Dec. 15 2015, Yazda organisation, a global Yazdidi organisation, helped me to speak before the U.N. Security Council. Here, my message received some attraction from the international community and the media. Since that date, I have been on an international campaign to raise awareness about the Yazidi genocide, the plight of Yazidi women and girls, and speaking against ISIS, a group that continue to threaten the entire world.

Can you say how many women are still held in Iraq?
More than 6,500 women and children were taken into captivity, about 1,200 children boys were taken to be trained to be future jihadists, among them is my nephew, Malik. From the total captives about 2,648 have managed to escape, more than 3,500 remain in captivity. Our estimate is that hundreds have committed suicide, or been killed by airstrikes.

How did the genocide of the Yazidis come about, in your opinion?
The sickening ideology of the radicals always existed and throughout the history radicals have committed crimes using the religion as ground for their crimes. My own community has been subject to more than 74 genocides by radical Muslim groups, not just now but throughout the history such as the Ottomans and others. These radical groups, whenever given the chance, will commit their crimes. What happened in Iraq and Syria was that the world remained silent as ISIS expanded.

ISIS did not come down from the sky, they found the opportunity to grow and the world allowed them to grow. When I was held by them, they had access to weapons, to food, to clothes. Until today, they do not have a shortage of ammunition, weapons or food. ISIS controls an area bigger than the United Kingdom, or many other countries. How do they manage to control these areas if they are not getting help and ammunition or weapons? Who will believe that a international coalition of many countries, together with an Arab coalition with all types of weapons cannot defeat a terrorist group?

Do you feel the West has done enough for the Yazidis?
The West has not done much for my community and myself. The entire world remains silent as Yazidis face a holocaust. They remain silent, well maybe not completely silent, but they do not act on a solution. The Yazidis are on the route towards extinction as a people and there is still no prospect of a solution for those in captivity or for those who have survived.

I have been asking the world for nine months now to hold ISIS accountable. I have asked them to bring a case before the International Criminal Court. They have not done so. I have asked them to end ISIS and they have not done so either. I still don’t know why they are not fighting ISIS legally through ICC or why they are not cutting their sources of support or why they are not fighting their ideology? Bombs only are not enough to eradicate those monsters!

The world has forgotten Yazidis and other minorities. It seems to me that only a few people actually care about this suffering.

You have been traveling the world to wake people to the genocide. What has been the response to your call?
The response from the normal people has been immense. Anyone I have spoken to has felt sympathy. They all feel my pain and they all say they want to do something. For the governments and officials, I have also visited 17 countries, they show support, but there has been no action. No action on ending ISIS or on ICC case, or even on helping refugees or on allowing special cases to find a safe home. Since 2 years the situation for Yazidis is getting worse day by the day as the genocide is ongoing as the last U.N. report stated. Some countries individually have acknowledged the genocide and I am glad they have done so. But there has been no action.

What can people do across the planet to be in solidarity with your struggle?
I would like to take this opportunity to ask people to participate in my social media campaign on Aug. 3 and tweet #Remember3August or #StopYazidiGenocide

http://time.com/4435297/sinjar-anniversary-yazidi-nadia-murad/

UN calls on anti-ISIS fighters to make release of Yezidi captives a priority
by Rudaw August 3, 2016

NEW YORK—On the second anniversary of the massacre of thousands of Yezidi Kurds by members of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the town of Shingal, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that the massacre was a crime against humanity and called on those fighting ISIS to make the release of hostages a priority.

A spokesperson for the UN secretary general said that Ban Ki-moon “reiterates his strong condemnation of the heinous crimes that continue to be committed by ISIL against the diverse ethnic and religious communities of Iraq,”

The spokesperson said that Ban Ki-moon was deeply concerned about the safety of thousands of Yezidi women and children who still remain hostage by ISIS, and “he called on all those engaged in the fight against ISIL [also known as Da’esh] to make their release a “prime objective” in their military operations.”

“The Secretary-General stresses that the crimes committed by ISIL in Iraq may constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and even genocide,” while calling on the Iraqi Government and the international community to support the survivors.

ISIS militants attacked the town of Shingal on August 3, 2014 where they killed thousands of innocent Yezidis in the following days and took thousands, mainly women and young girls, captive.

“Mr. Ban also called on the Government of Iraq to continue identifying ways to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice without delay, based on fair trial and due process, which could include the option of a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC).” UN secretary general’s spokesperson said in a statement.

Also on Wednesday the UN mandated an inquiry on human rights in Syria today called for an end to the genocide and other ISIS crimes against the Yezidis, “recommending that the UN Security Council refer the situation to the ICC or an ad hoc tribunal.”

A special UN Commission released a report in June, titled They Came to Destroy: ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis, which determined that ISIS has committed genocide and multiple crimes against humanity, particularly against the Yezidis.

The report said that more than 3,200 women and children still held by the group and being subjected to almost-unimaginable violence.

“Most are in Syria where Yazidi women and girls continue to be sexually enslaved and Yazidi boys, indoctrinated, trained and used in hostilities,” said the statement. “Thousands of Yazidi men and boys remain missing.”

“It is the responsibility of the United Nations, and the international community to take action to stop the on-going genocide, to care for its victims, and to bring those responsible to justice,” the UN said.

http://rudaw.net/english/world/040820161

The Yezidi Genocide, Two Years Later
New film documents the havoc wreaked on the religious minority by the Islamic State group.
by Douglas Burton | US News, Aug. 4, 2016

The horror faced by Iraq's Yezidi community is nearly unfathomable.

Two years ago, on Aug. 3, 2014, the vanguard of Islamic State group shock troops began advancing through the villages on the south side of the Yezidi homeland on Sinjar Mountain, a huge monolith that rises improbably off the northern plains of Iraq near its border with Syria. The Yezidi people -- a Kurdish-speaking community of about 500,000 people that professes a secretive religion derived from a mix of Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam -- had been given no notice, according to reports at the time.

The mass shootings, beheadings of Yezidi men and boys, and the torture and enslavement of Yezidi women and girls that followed draws comparison to the mass killings by the Nazis during World War II. Between 2,000 and 5,000 people were murdered in the first few weeks, and up to 5,000 Yezidi women were abducted and sold into sex slavery. It is believed that 3,000 women and girls are still in captivity, hundreds of them in the cities of Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declared on March 17 that the devastation of the Yezidi people as well as Assyrian Christians and other minorities by ISIS met all the criteria of genocide.

A new documentary film, "The 74th Command, Kojo in Sinjar," from Kurdish writer and director Sayid Muhammad, sketches the tragedy of the attack as well as the supernatural resilience of the Yezidi warriors who, alongside Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers, recovered the mountain of Sinjar on Nov. 13, 2015. The film was supported through the Kardokh Organization for Coexistence in Kurdistan and by the Barzani Foundation.

Approximately 6,000 Yezidi people still live at the top of Sinjar mountain where they held Islamic State group attackers back two years ago, according to Nawaf Ashur, a former resident of Sinjar who works as a humanitarian activist in Washington, D.C.

"There are a few hundred people who have returned to their former villages on the north side of the mountain, but about 40 percent of the mountain, especially on the south side, is still occupied by ISIS," he said in an interview with AMI Newswire, using an alternate name for the Islamic State group. "The Yezidi people will not return in large groups until the city of Mosul falls and security in the area is assured."

Today, close to 400,000 Yezidi people are housed in grim camps for internally displaced persons in Kurdistan, which welcomed them at the time of the attack.

According to Muhammad, prior to Aug. 3rd, 2014, there had been 73 attempts by various kings and armed groups over the centuries to annihilate the Yezidi people, who are despised by Muslims as infidels. The title of the film alludes to the 74th attempt, in this case by Islamic State group terrorists. The film tells its story through the voices of women who survived captivity and through the Yezidi soldiers, many of whom lost their entire families in the genocide. In the village of Kojo, a rural settlement of 1,700 farmers, 380 men and boys were killed in the first three days and buried in mass graves. Approximately 80 older women were executed in mass slayings and 370 women and girls were sold into sex slavery.

An unidentified Yezidi woman in a veil says she was 30 at the time and had a small daughter. "They forced all of the women into one room; there, they spread out a blanket and told us to put our cell phones on it, which we did, and on another blanket they forced us to place all of our jewelry and on a third blanket all of our money, which we did."

On the first day, the 80 older women were executed, she said. For the first three days, the Yezidi men were told to convert to Islam, but none did. Remarkably, several of the men and boys survived the mass shootings by pretending to be dead and climbing out of the graves when the ISIS cadre left them alone.

A Yezidi Peshmerga Brigade commander, Talib Naif Jaso, exhorts the American people and the Coalition forces "to take action to never let this tragedy happen again."

According to Jaso, a resident of Kojo who leads the Kojo Martyrs Brigade and who lost all of his male relatives in the attack, "We are not considering revenge."

In this May 22, 2016 photo, Bahzad Farhan Murad talks to The Associated Press in the small office where he collects evidence on crimes against Yazidis, in Dohuk, northern Iraq. Murad, a 28-year-old Yazidi, is on a personal quest to collect evidence of the Islamic State group’s devastating attack on his community in August 2014. He hopes his detailed files of over 2,400 victims can assist a future criminal prosecution and preserve the historical record of IS’s massacre of up to 5,000 Yazidi men and enslavement of thousands of women.

"If we did that, there would be no difference between ISIS and us," he explains. "After everything that has happened to us, we don't want to be the ones hurting innocent people in return. We don't want to harm innocents in any way, even using bad words."

Jaso says in the documentary that only 10 percent of the terrorists who attacked Kojo village in 2014 were soldiers from other Iraqi provinces or foreign fighters. The rest of the attackers were neighbors to Kojo village, Arabs who lived in Nineveh Province with the Yezidis, making long-term trust and reconciliation almost unthinkable.

"Before we can talk about reconciliation, we want to see prosecution of the criminals and the process of justice," Murad Ismael, the head of Yazda, the most prominent Yezidi humanitarian foundation, told a conference at Georgetown University on July 28.

But reconciliation has to be planned now regardless of the barriers, said David N. Saperstein, U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, in an interview with AMI Newswire. "We have models of resolving deep hostilities between groups in other places, where enormous tolls have been paid, in Rwanda and South Africa."

Saperstein, an ordained rabbi, added that these reconciliation processes have been successful; and if they have been successful in Rwanda, they can be successful in Iraq as well. "The diversity of Iraq as a country with a rich tapestry of different ethnicities and religious communities has been a source of strength for the country. The full range of groups in the Muslim and the interfaith community [interacting together] can be a model for countries in the region. The religious communities are indispensable to the success of that project."

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-08-04/two-years-after-geno...

Yazidi survivor Nadia Murad: We want a Muslim stand against ISIS
Staff writer, Al Arabiya, 6 August 2016

Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi woman who escaped a gruesome ordeal after she was kidnapped by ISIS to be a sex slave like thousands of other women from her minority ethnic group, tells Al Arabiya News Channel in an interview aired Friday that her people “want a stronger stand from Muslims against” the militant group.

“ISIS says that they represent Muslims, but Muslims must give a stronger stand against such claim,” she said, explaining that ISIS does not represent Islam.

Murad explained that such “stand” would deter “people as young as 12” from joining ISIS.

Yazidis, who practice an ancient religion, are considered “devil worshippers” by ISIS supporters.

The 22-year-old became an international icon for the plight of the Yazidi people after she begged the UN Security Council in late 2015 to help with the tragic fallout when ISIS militants seized the Yazidis’ territories in northern Iraq, kidnapping more than 5,000 women, including herself.

Kidnapped by ISIS in August 2014, Murad risked execution when she escaped after three months.

After her escape, she turned into an activist, visiting different countries in the region to raise awareness over ISIS atrocities and garner further support to help other Yazidi women under ISIS captivity.

“I met with many leaders, MPs and regular people,” she said. “I wanted to describe the crimes I saw committed against me and thousands of other girls.”

Asked if she was able to deliver her message in light of what some activists describe as inaction by the international community to help Yazidi women escape, she said: “I believe I did deliver the message, the rest is up to their conscious.”

Yazidis also demand that they administer their territories in Iraq away from the central government of Baghdad and the autonomous government of Kurdistan in Erbil after what they described as the two failing them.

“We do not care which side Baghdad or Erbil to take, but we need to administer our region,” she said, stating that having an international protection by the UN would be a welcomed decision and that it is their “right.”

The Yazidis are also waiting from Erbil to open a probe over why the peshmerga Kurdish forces abandoned their posts in Sinjar city where Yazidis were mostly concentrated following the ISIS offensive in August 2014.

The Yazidis also want the international community to recognize what they went through as a “genocide” committed against them, but both Baghdad and Erbil made no advances to pursue such claim.

“It is true nothing had happened after the meetings [abroad], but I was happy that they opened their doors for me, these leaders, MPs,” she said. “That was important for me because ISIS did not believe we could do this.”

So far 60 percent of Iraq’s northern city of Sinjar – where Yazidis have long lived, is liberated, said Murad but not many Yazidi families have returned.

“Some families from the northern parts returned, but we cannot return that easily because we have lost our trust,” she said. “We were not protected.”

She also dubbed the liberation of the area as “political.”

“I did not feel the liberation was done because girls like me were taken as slaves,” she said. “Many Yazidis feel it was not for us.”

After the liberation of Sinjar in November last year, different groups including Yazidis, peshmergas and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) clashed in separate incidents, highlighting political competition and lack of a coherent national strategy to fight ISIS.

On top of their abandonment by the peshmerga forces in 2014, they feel betrayed by the Arabs.

“We have Arab Muslim neighbors, whom we used to know who joined ISIS, and had their women celebrating when ISIS took us Yazidi women as slaves,” she said.

While she lamented the series of betrayals, she also recounted how a Muslim Arab family from Mosul helped her escape.

“The family man, until now I remember what he said, when he apologized that his family could not feed me better because they were poor,” she said with tears in her eyes.

Murad also gained a new view after trips to Arab states.

“When I went to Egypt and Kuwait, I realized there is a difference between ISIS and Islam,” she said. “There are Muslims who have risked with their lives to save the captive Yazidi girls,” she added, giving hope for an already divided region.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/features/2016/08/06/Yaz...

Emerging from slavery, Yazidi women struggle to recover
8 August 2016, Author: UNFPA

KHANKE, Iraq – “Do not blame me for repeating my story, as what happened to me is the unforgettable story of my life,” Golleh*, a Yazidi woman, said. She had been abducted by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS or Da’esh), and enslaved for eight months.

The horrors she and other kidnapped women have experienced can scarcely be imagined.

ISIL sells Yazidi women and girls on slave markets, treating them as property. Many women are subjected to repeated rape. Some are forced to perform domestic labour. Brutality is commonplace.

A United Nations human rights panel has determined that the ongoing campaign of violence against the Yazidis amounts to genocide.

“ISIS has sought to destroy the Yazidis through killings, sexual slavery, enslavement, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, and forcible transfer causing serious bodily and mental harm,” among other cruel measures, said a recent report of the panel.


“I was sold more than once”

Golleh, 50, was taken in August 2014 when ISIL overtook the northern Iraqi district of Sinjar. Two years later, she says the experience remains fresh.

“Even those who were liberated from the hands of Da’esh, like me, are still suffering,” she said. “…I still cannot believe that I am alive.”

She wants the world to know about the slave markets, trafficking and torment, hoping her story will help galvanize action that might save her 5-year-old grandson, who was captured by ISIL and whose whereabouts are unknown.

“I want my voice to be heard by the whole world,” she told a social worker in the Shanaz Women’s Social Centre in Khanke, in northern Iraq.

These sentiments were echoed by Resalah*, 35, another Yazidi woman who frequents the UNFPA-supported centre.

“I was sold more than once,” Resalah said, explaining that she was moved from Iraq to Syria, where she was forced to work from dawn until dusk without rest. Sometimes, she went for days without a meal.

Sharing my experience with social workers here, the way they respond and support me, keeps me stronger.

She was bewildered when the spouse of a man who had purchased her decided to help her escape. “His wife sympathized with me, and helped me run away,” she said.

Resalah managed to cross over the border from Syria to Turkey, and from there she was helped to return to Iraq, ending up in Khanke. Still, her nightmare is not yet over.

Her daughter was abducted and is still missing. “I heard she is in Syria now, but [I have] no further details,” she said. Her 12-year old son was also taken; Resalah fears he may have been forced to fight, or that he may have been killed.

“I tried to commit suicide more than once… I do not want to keep remembering that bitter experience,” she said.

Today, what keeps her going is her youngest son – the only family member now with her – and the support she receives at the women’s centre.

“Sharing my experience with social workers here, the way they respond and support me, keeps me stronger,” she said.


Finding the strength to go on

Resalah and Golleh are among dozens of Yazidi women who regularly meet with social workers at the Shanaz Women’s Social Centre, said Zhiman Deham, the centre’s director.

In the first five months of this year, some 30 survivors of gender-based violence visited the centre for consultations and psychosocial support. “The majority of them were abducted by IS,” said Ms. Deham, using another abbreviation for ISIL.

Survivors of ISIL need continuous support, she added.

In addition to one-on-one psychological support sessions and referrals to further care, the centre also provides training courses, which can help women learn a new trade, such as hairdressing or sewing. More than 1,000 displaced women have received skills training at the centre.

The centre also holds awareness sessions, teaching women about their human rights and how to obtain legal assistance. Women also receive UNFPA-provided dignity kits, which contain clothing, soap, sanitary napkins and other items needed to maintain good health and hygiene.

“I cannot afford buying [these items] if they would not have given to me,” Resalah said.

The social workers, instructors and other women at the centre have had an enormous impact on her, she emphasized.

“They receive me with a smile, listen to me over and over again… This gives me energy to go on.”

- See more at: http://www.unfpa.org/news/emerging-slavery-yazidi-women-struggle-re...

Lethbridge MP Rachael Harder learns first-hand about Yazidi genocide: ‘absolutely horrific’
by Allie Miller, Global News, August 5, 2016

Member of Parliament for Lethbridge Rachael Harder recently returned from a fact-finding mission to northern Iraq where she learned firsthand about the genocide of the Yazidi people.

“What we saw and the stories that we heard were absolutely horrific,” Harder said.

In June, the United Nations declared the atrocities committed against the Yazidi population by ISIS as genocide. Harder heard from Yazidi women who escaped ISIS.

“Repeated rape and horrendous torture, being purchased and sold like they were simply a commodity,” she said.

The Yazidi people live primarily in Iraq, Turkey and Syria, and were first invaded by ISIS in 2014.

READ MORE: ‘Virgin. Beautiful. 12 years old’: ISIS tightens grip on women held as sex slaves

Since January, Canada has welcomed more than 25,000 refugees, but currently the Yazidi women, who are considered “internally displaced people,” do not meet requirements for immigration.

“Canada does have the ability to enact Section 25 of the immigration act, which would allow us to offer asylum to those who are not declared refugees but find themselves in unique and desperate situations,” Harder said.

“Canadians made a commitment to place some of the most vulnerable,” immigration director at Lethbridge Family Services Sarah Aimes said. “Certainly these women are some of these groups.”

Harder said more needs to be done to help these women flee their war-torn home.

“They don’t have a hope if they stay in the region that they live,” Harder said. “They have to come to the country where they’re given the opportunity to pursue a new life.”

READ MORE: Iraqi Yazidi women and girls faced brutal sexual violence

Harder argued that Lethbridge is a perfect place for the Yazidi women to call home.

“We have a university, a college, and we have a great English learning program here,” Harder said. “We have structures in place to support new immigrants.”

Lethbridge Family Services, one of the first points of contact for new immigrants, has programs in place to facilitate education for the new refugees.

“English language, as far as we’re concerned, is your full-time job for the first year,” Aimes said.

Harder said she and her colleagues will continue to work with diplomats and aid groups to bring these women to Canada.

“The Yazidi people are at the hands of the genocide—they are the ones we need to be prioritizing.”
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

http://globalnews.ca/news/2867709/rachael-harder-learns-first-hand-...

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