This August 3rd marks the two-year anniversary of the brutal attack of the Yazidi people in Sinjar Province in the Northern region of Iraq, Two years since IS or ISIL (also known as ISIS or Daesh) stormed towns, villages, and historic homelands of the ethno-religious group, killing over 5,000 men and elders, enslaving over 7,000 women and children and displacing over 400,000 more. Two years since the humanitarian crisis in which thousands of internally displaced Yazidis were trapped on Sinjar Mountain, surrounded by Isis fighters determined to exterminate the indigenous group, dying of exposure and dehydration. Two years since the ongoing genocide of the Yazidi people began, including the desecration of homes, holy sites and women’s bodies.
The recently published Chilcot report in the UK, which revealed that former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and his major allies – including former US President George Bush had illegally waged war in Iraq in March 2003 and militarily occupied it – further reiterates the connection that the Iraq War contributed to the rise of IS or ISIL in the region.
Nadia Murad is a 23-year-old victim of Isil’s crimes in Iraq and one of the thousands of Yazidi women who were abducted and enslaved by IS or ISIL. She was brutally raped by more than 12 members over a period of three months and was among the more than 5,000 Yazidi women taken captive when IS or ISIL swept through the group’s communities in Northern Iraq. After her escape, Nadia spoke out about her horrific experiences at the hands of IS or ISIL fighters to draw attention to the ongoing genocide. She has described how she and other young women were forced to pray before they were raped, and how they were treated as they were bought and sold like “sabia” – slaves.
“We were not worth the value of animals. They raped girls in groups, They did what a mind could not imagine. They commit rape and genocide crimes in the name of Islam. When they took me to Mosul to rape me, I forgot about my mother and brothers. Because what they were doing to the women was more difficult than death” – Nadia Murad
YAZDA is a global Yazidi organization who provides support for the victims of the genocide.
ON AUGUST 3, WE CALL ON THE WORLD TO SHOW SOLIDARITY FOR NADIA MURAD AND THE THOUSANDS OF YAZIDI WOMEN AND GIRLS SOLD AND CAPTURED AS SEX SLAVES – AND CALL FOR THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF THE CAPTURED 3,000 YAZIDI WOMEN.
WE CALL ON THE WORLD TO HONOR THE GENOCIDAL ATTACK ON SINJAR TWO YEARS AGO. WE AS A GLOBAL COMMUNITY, MUST KEEP THEIR STORIES AND THEIR SITUATION VISIBLE WITH THE STRENGTH OF OUR SOLIDARITY.
ORGANIZE SOLIDARITY EVENTS AND ACTION IN YOUR COMMUNITIES. Here are some suggested actions:
MARCHES. VIGILS. WALKS. SOLIDARITY VIDEOS AND PHOTOS
SHOW YOUR SOLIDARITY ONLINE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. LETS FILL THE GLOBE ONLINE WITH OUR SUPPORT FOR OUR YAZIDI SISTERS AND OUR DEMAND FOR JUSTICE FOR THEM.
USE THE HASHTAG: #StopYazidiGenocide
CONTEXT OF THE YAZIDI GENOCIDE
The Yazidi ethno-religious group is one the oldest in Mesopotamia, with a current population of around 600,000 in Iraq of which 400,000 inhabited the district of Sinjar and 200,000 lived elsewhere in Nineveh and Dohuk Province prior to the events of August 3rd, 2014. On that day, IS or ISIL (also known as ISIS or Daesh) brutally attacked and occupied the Sinjar area after Iraqi Kurdish Forces (Peshmarga) abruptly withdrew. The fall of Sinjar led to the chaotic exodus of all Yazidis from Sinjar District where at least 150,000 fled to the autonomous Kurdish Region and thousands became entrapped on Mt. Sinjar and its adjacent villages.
The surrounded Yazidis endured grim conditions with little food or water for many days. Many more people, mostly children, infants and the elderly, died of dehydration and exposure during their ordeal on the mountain and the evacuation process.
This catastrophe displaced the vast majority of the Sinjar District population to Iraqi Kurdistan, Syrian Kurdistan, and Turkey. Moreover, Yazidis from the Nineveh plain towns of Bashiqa, Bahzani, Mahad, Shikhan and other villages were forced to flee as well when their areas left undefended. The displaced Yazidi community continues to face a humanitarian crisis; tens of thousands are homeless and unsupported and suffer from malnutrition and health issues. Yazidi children are the most vulnerable group. Since the beginning of this crisis, IS or ISIL has murdered more than 3,000 Yazidi men and sold thousands of Yazidi women into sexual slavery. They has also committed crimes of rape and sexual violence against thousands of Yazidi women and children in captivity. The group abducted at least 5000 Yazidis during their assault on Sinjar, mostly women and children and has relocated abductees to different regions where they are offered for sale as sexual slaves. To date, dozens of women have been killed in captivity while many others have committed suicide.
“The attack of ISIS is rooted in recent history. It is the direct result of all the politics that came into Iraq with the occupation. The US empowered the Shi’a Islamic political groups and marginalised a big part of the country who were recognised as Sunni people. It was only to be expected that the next step would be for the sectarian religious dynamics to surface, for one religious group to be fighting another religious group. The leading members of ISIS were either tortured in US military prisons or in the prisons of the Shi’a government which the Americans put in place. When you torture a person for long periods you might get a very passionate human rights defender but most probably you will get a beast whose only concern is to seek his revenge in the best way possible. And that’s what happened with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was in Bucca prison, being tortured by the Americans and being prepared for his next role in life, head of ISIS. Before 2003, none of us knew which part of the country was Sunni and which part was Shi’a. This was something new to Iraq and we are reaping the results at this point. Women’s wellbeing has paid the price.” – YANAR MOHAMMED (Founder of OWFI – Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq and a V-Day/ One Billion Rising activists:
“ISIS has committed the crime of genocide as well as multiple crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Yazidis, thousands of whom are held captive in the Syrian Arab Republic where they are subjected to almost unimaginable horrors.ISIS has sought to destroy the Yazidis through killings; sexual slavery, enslavement, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and forcible transfer. The public statements and conduct of ISIS and its fighters clearly demonstrate that ISIS intended to destroy the Yazidis of Sinjar, composing the majority of the world’s Yazidi population, in whole or in part.”
UN Report on Yazidi Genocide
Beginning on August 3, 2014 IS or ISIL attacked Yazidi communities in the Mount Sinjar area.
The largest known massacre took place in Kocha, where nearly every man over the age of was killed – reportedly 400 executions.
5,000 Yazidis killed
7,000 Yazidis abducted
400,000 Yazidis displaced
2,576 women and children have escaped or been rescued from ISIL enslavement.
Approximately 1,600 former IS or ISIL enslaved victims remain in Iraq, while the rest are receiving treatment in Germany.
According to female survivors of IS or ISIL enslavement, hundreds of Yazidi women have committed suicide to avoid further raping from islamic state militants.
Most recently, 19 Yazidi girls were placed in cages and burned alive for refusing to have sex with their islamic state captors.
ONE BILLION RISING calls on global OBR activists to rise with and for our Yazidi sisters in solidarity.
OBR calls for the financial support of YAZDA who directly assist and help Yazidi women in Iraq and those displaced as refugees abroad. TheY provide shelter, counseling, food, clothing, psychological treatment, aid work to the women and girls – and also do educational work, genocide documentation and advocacy campaigns to keep sustained attention on the issue in the Yazidi women’s fight for survival and justice.
In particular, we would like to call for financial support for YAZDA’s Psychosocial Treatment and Trauma Support Center
In March 2015, Yazda set up a center in Kurdish-controlled Dohuk, northern Iraq, to address the extensive systematic abuse and sexual violence suffered by Yazidi women and girls held in IS or ISIL captivity.
This psychosocial treatment and trauma support center aims to simultaneously address the following:
As a global movement to end violence against women and children, One Billion Risings demands an end to all wars and military occupation by US and other Western forces which CAUSE, PERPETUATE AND KEEP THIS VIOLENCE IN PLACE.
OBR calls on the global media to keep highlighting the violence inflicted on of women caused by wars and occupation, and to report on the roots and causes of these wars so that global pressure can be used to hold the perpetrators of these wars accountable.
OBR calls on citizens of the world to RISE for JUSTICE for Nadia Murad and the Yazidi women in their call to secure accountability for the genocide, sexual enslavement and trafficking of their women and girls by IS or ISIL in Iraq.
OBR calls on the world to support their legal efforts to achieve accountability from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and for the prosecution of the crimes committed against Nadia Murad and the Yazidi community.
DEMAND AN END TO THE YAZIDI GENOCIDE!
DEMAND AN END TO THE ENSLAVEMENT AND SYSTEMATIC RAPES OF YAZIDI WOMEN!
DEMAND FOR LEGAL ACCOUNTABILITY!
RISE ON AUGUST 3 WITH SOLIDARITY ACTIONS TO HONOR THE GENOCIDAL ATTACK ON THE YAZIDI COMMUNITY – SO THAT IT WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!
RISE TO DEMAND THE RELEASE OF THE CAPTURED 3,000 YAZIDI WOMEN1
(YAZDA, a global Yazidi organization, was established in 2014 to respond to the various needs of the Yazidi community after the self -proclaimed islamic State committed genocide against them in northern Iraq. The mission of YAZDA is to support the surviving victims of genocide and to ensure the future safety of the Yazidi ethnoreligious minority group. Know more about their work and ways to help and show solidarity by visiting their website: www.yazda.org. To make a donation please visit www.yazda.org/donations/