Yazda Press Release: Monday 1 August 2016
Yazidis urge UK to raise Yazidi genocide issue at International
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 call by Yazda, which represents the Yazidi
community, on the British government to request the United Nations Security Council to refer
ongoing genocide attempts by ISIS against Yazidis to the International Criminal Court (ICC). This
call was made as we approach 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 call follows a finding by the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry into Syria, ‘They Came
to Destroy: ISIS Crimes against the Yazidis’, on 16 June 2015 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 “the United Kingdom, as a permanent member of UN Security Council and as a
member of ICC, has both a right and an obligation to seek an open, international investigation of
ISIS atrocities and crimes, so that the Yazidi case gets legal recognition. The British government
should implement the House of Commons resolution to this effect passed on 20 April last.
“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 this
day last year by Zainab Hawa Bangura, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-
General for Sexual Violence in Conflict,when she stated
”Firsthand 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. Thousands of Yazidis are refugees in the EU with over 3,300 in Greece
alone” said Ms Murad.
In addition to raising the issue at the ICC, Yazda and Ms Murad called on the British
government to assist further by:
Granting special status to Yazidi refugees as victims of continuing genocidal attacks
Granting temporary permits to escaped Yazidi victims of rape and sex slavery to
Providing humanitarian assistance to more than 400,000 displaced Yazidis
“In addition, we have just completed a visit to Canada to discuss with government officials,
Parliament and NGOs there how best to support measures for the protection of these vulnerable
groups. We would welcome an opportunity to work more closely with the British government on
this” concluded Ms Murad.
For further information on this media release please contact:
Ahmed Khudida Burjus, Deputy Executive Director, Yazda UK
Telephone 004915735482314 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Syria and Iraq, with emigrant communities in Europe
and North America.
Nadia Murad Basee Taha is based in Germany and is working with working 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:
As can be seen on her Twitter account Ms Murad has held many meetings with major political
figures, spoken at conferences and given numerous interviews.
Yazda is a nonprofit organisation established to support Yazidis internationally and in their
homeland in northern Irawq and northeastern Syria. Its mission is to support the Yazidi community
in the aftermath of the August 2014 genocide and the displace and the displacement of over 400,00
people in Sinjar, the Nineveh Plains and Syria. In Kurdistan 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 a
detailed evidence in a report in 2015. It has documented over 35 mass graves of Yazidi massacre
Yazda met Baroness Anelay, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual
Violence in Conflict and Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Richard
Harrington M.P., then Minister of State at the Department for International Development with
responsibility for Syrian Refugees and Sir Desmond Swayne M.P. then Minister of State at the
Department for International Development.
Background: August 3rd marks the second anniversary of the capture of Sinjar city by ISIS when
launched a genocidal attack on Yazidi communities in the Mount Sinjar area of Northern
obtain therapy and counselling services in the UK, as has been done by Germany
Iraq. ISIS has justified its campaign of extermination by falsely declaring Yazidis to be ‘devil
worshippers’. If 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’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
Approximately 5000 Yazidis were massacred, 7000 abducted and 90% of the Yazidi community
displaced to refugee camps, mostly in Kurdistan. 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 BadenWurttemberg’s Special Quota Programme. Some 42 Yazidi religious sites
have been destroyed and numerous graveyards desecrated.