Yazda Press Release: Tuesday 2 August 2016
Yazidis request Russian Federation to raise Yazidi genocide issue at International Criminal Court
Call comes as UN inquiry finds that genocide attempts ‘ongoing’
Nadia Murad Basee Taha, a 23 year old Iraqi Yazidi escapee from ISIS captivity and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, today supported the request by Yazda, which represents the Yazidi community, to the government of the Russian Federation to request the United Nations Security Council to refer ongoing genocide attempts by ISIS against Yazidis to the International Criminal Court (ICC). This request was made in view of the second anniversary of the genocidal attack by ISIS on the Yazidi community in Iraq on 3 August 2014.
Ms Murad, who spoke to the United Nations Security Council on 16 December 2015, is working jointly with Yazda and with international human rights lawyer Ms Amal Clooney to persuade the International Criminal Court to open a genocide investigation regarding ISIS crimes.
The request follows a finding by the report on 16 June 2015 of the UN Commission of Inquiry into Syria, ‘They Came to Destroy: ISIS Crimes against the Yazidis’, that “genocide has occurred and is ongoing” against the Yazidi community. Yazidi women and girls have been particular targets of psychological, physical and sexual torture by ISIS.
Ms Murad said “Russia, as a permanent member of UN Security Council and as a member of ICC, has the right to seek an open, international investigation of ISIS atrocities and crimes, so that the Yazidi case gets legal recognition.
“Two years later, some 3,400 women and girls remain trapped in sex slavery and torture. This is effectively the emergence of feminicide through the kidnapping of Yazidi women as spoils of war, their enslavement, torture, systematic rape and forced religious conversion as was documented on 3 August last year by Zainab Hawa Bangura, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sexual Violence in Conflict, when she reported
”First-hand accounts from internally displaced persons and refugees, some of whom I met during my visit to the Middle East in April, confirm systematic sexual violence, particularly against Yazidi women and children aged between eight and 35 years.”
“In addition hundreds of thousands of our people remain homeless, displaced and subject to ongoing risk of attack.” said Ms Murad.
“We hope to visit Moscow shortly to discuss this difficult situation with the government of the Russian Federation.” concluded Ms Murad.
For further information on this media release please contact:
Ahmed Khudida Burjus, Deputy Executive Director, Yazda
Note to Editors: In June 2016, international human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney, Yazda counsel, confirmed she will represent Yazidi women victims of sexual slavery and torture at International Criminal Court proceedings.
The Yazidi are an ethnic and religious minority with a 6,000 year old culture, based mainly in northern parts of Iraq and Syria, with emigrant communities elsewhere including the Russian Federation. Famous Russian citizens of Yazidi heritage include the famous singer Zara (Zarifa Pashaevna Mgoyan), World Champion (2011, 2013) amateur flyweight boxer Mikhail Surenovich “Misha” Aloyan, Red Army Hero of the Soviet Union during the Patriotic War Samand Aliyevich Siabandov and television presenter and actress Kseniya Kimovna Borodina.
Nadia Murad Basee Taha is based in Germany and is working with international human rights lawyer Ms Amal Clooney on Yazda’s campaign to persuade the International Criminal Court to open a genocide investigation regarding ISIS crimes and obtain help for the victims. Her appearance before the UN Security Council in New York on 16 December 2015 is on this link:
Ms Murad was interviewed by Novaya Gazeta (11 January 2016) https://issuu.com/novayagazeta/docs/novgaz-pdf__2016-001n?e=3174214/32648253
On 8 June 2016 she met with Mr Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna (UNOV). As can be seen on her Twitter and Facebook accounts Ms Murad has held many meetings with major political figures, spoken at conferences and given numerous interviews.
Yazda is a non-profit organisation established to support Yazidis internationally and in their homeland in northern Iraq and north eastern Syria. Its mission is to support the Yazidi community in the aftermath of the August 2014 genocide and the displacement of over 400,000 people from Sinjar, the Nineveh Plains and Syria. In Kurdistan, Iraq it runs a primary care centre, a psychosocial treatment and trauma support centre for former captives, educational initiatives and aid projects. It is spearheading the campaign for the ICC to open a genocide investigation and gave it detailed evidence in a report in 2015. It has documented over 35 mass graves of Yazidi massacre victims.
Background: August 3rd marks the second anniversary of the capture of Sinjar city by ISIS when it launched a genocidal attack on Yazidi communities in the Mount Sinjar area of northern Iraq. ISIS has justified its campaign of extermination by falsely declaring Yazidis to be ‘devil worshippers’. When captured Yazidi men and male teenagers were immediately murdered, younger boys sent off for indoctrination as future ISIS fighters, young women and girls kidnapped as sex slaves while the middle aged and older women were subsequently murdered. The largest known massacre took place in Nadia Murad’s home village of Kocho, where nearly every male over the age of 12 was murdered, approximately over 700 murders. The victims include her mother and 6 of her brothers.
Approximately 5000 Yazidis were massacred, 7000 abducted and 90% of the Yazidi community displaced to refugee camps, mostly in Kurdistan, Iraq. Some 3,400 remain in ISIS captivity either as sex slaves or undergoing brainwashing as future ISIS fighters. An estimated 2576 Yazidi women and children have escaped or been rescued from ISIS captivity, of whom 1100 have been brought to Germany under Baden-Wurttemberg’s Special Quota Programme. Some 42 Yazidi religious sites have been destroyed and numerous graveyards desecrated.