“When I was in the camps, I noticed that when UN officials came in to do an assessment, the Yazidi people were not able to tell them the truth about what was happening for fear of retaliation from the country’s leaders.” — Dawood Saleh, Yazidi author and activist.
I’ll call her “Nada,” not her real name.
Nada is a Yazidi woman from Sinjar, Iraq, now age 31. On Aug. 3, 2014, ISIL came for her people. The Kurdish Peshmerga, tasked with protecting them, fled, leaving them helpless. Nada and her two children — a boy, eight months and a girl, two — were separated from her husband and father-in-law, whom she never saw again.
Justin prefers their rapists.
Jano is 14, but yearns to feel like a child again. He wants to hug his mother, whom he hasn’t seen since he was 10 years old, the day Islamic State came to his village.
Jano is not his real name. A Yazidi boy from the village of Kocho, near Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, he was kidnapped, indoctrinated and trained to become a boy soldier by Islamic State, or Isis.
Islamist rebels allied to Turkey accused of destroying temples of those following the non-Islamic sect
The Yazidis, who were recently the target of massacre, rape and sex slavery by Isis, are now facing forcible conversion to Islam under the threat of death from Turkish-backed forces which captured the Kurdish enclave of Afrin on 18 March. Islamist rebel fighters, who are allied to Turkey and have occupied Yazidi villages in the area, have destroyed the temples and places of worship the Kurdish-speaking non-Islamic sect according to local people.
After more than three years, Rita Habib, a 30-year-old Christian woman from the Iraqi city of Mosul, was recently reunited with her blind father in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region. She and her father are the sole survivors of a family whose members, like thousands of Christians and other non-Muslims, was murdered by ISIS in mid-2014. Habib was among hundreds of Christian and Yazidi women and girls abducted at the time and sold into the sex trade. She was one of the lucky ones to be rescued by the Christian advocacy group, the Shlomo Organization for Documentation, which paid ISIS $30,000 for her release.
Thousands of displaced Yazidis in the Sinjar mountains in Northern Iraq are still suffering and afraid, almost four years after Islamic State attacked Yazidi villages.
“The situation of the Yazidis in Iraq is of great concern. It is an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe with still close to 400,000 internally displaced scattered throughout the provinces of northern Iraq,” Lisa Miara, founder of Springs of Hope Foundation, told VOA.
Miara said three-and-a-half years after the Yazidi genocide, some villages are still unreachable and no major effort has been made to enable thousands of Yazidis to restore their lives and businesses.
On 26 September last year, a red pick-up truck pulled into Sharya in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
Inside sat 16-year-old Shaima. As the vehicle drew into the small, dusty village, friends and family crowded around and she fell into their arms.
This was Shaima’s return after more than three years in the captivity of Islamic State, during which she was sold from one fighter to another and moved between their strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
Now her uncle, Khalid Taalo Khudhur al-Ali, had bought her back for the sum of $16,000 (£11,000).
A brave Yazidi woman has told the shocking story of her captivity as a sex slave and her escape from ISIS jihadists.
Farida Abbas Khalaf, 22, was captured by Islamic State soldiers and abused for four months as a sex slave.
The Iraqi student was captured in 2014 when jihadists destroyed her village and killed all of the men, including her father and older brother.
All women and children were captured and brought to the ISIS Caliphate.
Farida says they were abused and she was forced to watch an eight-year-old girl being raped by a soldier in front of her.
As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stormed Iraq and attempted to conquer the country in 2014, its members committed genocide against the Yazidi population, a Kurdish religious minority. Men were systematically executed. Women were captured, forced into sexual slavery and repeatedly raped, beaten, sold and locked away.
What are the long-term psychological effects of the conditions these women endured? Following severe trauma, people may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
15yo Nadi could barely speak when RT crew met her just a few hours after she was bought out after years of slavery for $2,500 – not the highest ransom by far, as ISIS terrorists fetch $10,000 on average for young Yazidi girls.
Nadi is one of thousands of Yazidi girls, captured and then enslaved by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists who would turn the girls – often no older than 10 years – into forced laborers, sex slaves, and send them on suicide missions. With the self-proclaimed IS caliphate crumbling, the slave trade has become a source of income for the retreating militants in need of money to flee the battlefield and resettle in nearby countries.
Those who went into exile have creatively adapted their rituals. Those who stayed have been just as innovative.
BEHZANE, IRAQ—On a recent Friday afternoon, Yezidi musicians led a procession of worshipers toward a newly rebuilt temple on a hillside in northern Iraq. Women burned incense and the congregation threw handfuls of sweets at the flute and drum players. Hundreds of local Yezidis from the town of Behzane, near Mosul, had gathered to reopen one of the temples blown up by ISIS.
WASHINGTON — Members of the Yazidi religious community in Iraq and around the world commemorated the third anniversary Thursday of the massacre of thousands of civilians in their historic homeland, Sinjar, at the hands of Islamic State group militants.
Amid expressions of grief and calls for action by the international community, Yazidi officials said the tragedy their minority group suffered in Iraq in 2014 continues: Thousands who disappeared while IS extremists were in control are still missing, and large numbers of other Yazidis who fled for their lives have not been able to return.
“The IS genocide against our people continues to this day,” said Vian Dakhil, a Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament. “We need the international community to support us in starting a new beginning.”
SHARIYA CAMP, Iraq — The 16-year-old lies on her side on a mattress on the floor, unable to hold up her head. Her uncle props her up to drink water, but she can barely swallow. Her voice is so weak, he places his ear directly over her mouth to hear her.
The girl, Souhayla, walked out of the most destroyed section of Mosul this month, freed after three years of captivity and serial rape when her Islamic State captor was killed in an airstrike. Her uncle described her condition as “shock.” He had invited reporters to Souhayla’s bedside so they could document what the terror group’s system of sexual abuse had done to his niece.
“This is what they have done to our people,” said Khalid Taalo, her uncle.
A 16-year-old Iraqi girl who now lives in Germany has recalled the ordeal she went through after the Isis terror group kidnapped her and kept her as a sex slave in Iraq for six months.
Ekhlas is from the Yazidi community, a Kurdish ethno-religious minority that Isis harshly persecuted as it seized large swathes of Iraq in 2014.
When the terrorists raided her village, Ekhlas – aged 14 at the time – and her family tried to escape to Mount Sinjar, where thousands of Yazidis had sought refuge, but they were not fast enough.
A Winnipeg woman who escaped the horrors of captivity at the hands of Iraqi militants was overjoyed to recently discover that her 12-year-old son has been rescued and is recovering from gunshot wounds at a refugee camp.
Now, the mission for Nofa Mihlo Zaghla has become getting Canadian officials to help reunite her with her boy.
On Wednesday, the Yazidi Association of Manitoba went public with her story in the hopes of spurring officials to act quickly to get young Emad to Canada.
“We’re asking to bring that child to be reunited with his mother,” pleaded association president Hadji Hesso, his voice filled with passion. “That’s all we want. That’s all the mother wants. It’s all the child wants.”
“We need to think about families who cross the ocean, desperately seeking to build a better life for themselves and for their kids,” said Trudeau to an audience of supporters during a morning campaign stop in Toronto.
“And to know that somewhere in the Prime Minister’s Office staffers were poring through their personal files to try and see … which families would be suitable for a photo-op for the prime minister’s re-election campaign. That’s disgusting.”
Michelle Rempel needs to get angry more often.
The 36-year-old former Conservative cabinet minister, now the Official Opposition critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, was the driving force behind Tuesday’s 313-0 House of Commons vote requiring Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government to get its act together and open Canada’s doors to the persecuted Yazidi minority of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Nearly 400 Yazidi refugees and other survivors of Islamist extremists have already been accepted over the last four months, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said in announcing the initiative, which is expected to cost $28 million.
But unlike the thousands of refugees fleeing violence in Syria who were greeted by flashing cameras and intense public exposure, the Yazidis have been entering the country with no fanfare.