Yazda statement on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

June 19, 2020

Today, we recognize the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict and remember those who became victims and survivors of such violence. We recognize their increased suffering during this unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.

On this day, and every other day, we are remembering more than 7,000 Yazidi women and girls who were subjected to sexual violence, extreme violation, and brutality under the hands of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), including nearly 3,000 who remain missing. On this day, we want to remind the Iraqi Government and the international community of their responsibilities to assist the locating and liberating of those who are still held in captivity. We would also like to elevate the ongoing plight of victims who were rescued and now living in a dire situation in IDP camps in Northern Iraq for now nearly six years.

ISIS used sexual violence and enslavement as a weapon of genocide to eradicate the Yazidi minority group, by implementing and committing systematic campaigns of rape, forced conversions, as well as the buying and selling of Yazidi girls and women in slavery markets in Iraq and Syria. However, the bravery and resilience of the Yazidi women were stronger than any ISIS vision and plan. Many managed to escape from captivity and have started their new lives and several of them have become activists who have chosen to be the voices of collective solidarity and community resilience. Today, we remember their suffering, ongoing sacrifices, and incredible strength. We stand with them in advocating for justice. We value their efforts in locating their missing loved ones and we pledge to work alongside them to prevent future violence against girls and women all over the world.

In 2015, the United Nations (UN) recognized June 19 of every year as the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. We join the UN in their efforts to recognize this day and continue to urge the international community and all stakeholders to step up and take action to eliminate further attacks against vulnerable populations.

Yazda stresses justice and accountability as the indispensable pillars to prevent crimes of sexual violence against women and girls worldwide.


Inquiries: media@yazda.org