World failing Yazidi women forced into sex slavery

Yazidi Kurdish women at a protest against Daesh in Dohuk, northern Iraq. Thousands of women and girls of the Yazidi faith were abducted, tortured and sexually abused by Daesh fighters who invaded their homeland in northwest Iraq, in 2014. (AP Photo)
Updated 06 June 2018
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World failing Yazidi women forced into sex slavery

  • Many Yazidi women and girls have been brainwashed or killed in captivity, while those who have managed to escape after years of enslavement and rape are left struggling to survive without an income or identity papers.
  • Baroness Nicholson, founder and chair of the British-based AMAR Foundation which provides education and health care in the Middle East, said the world’s religions should urgently recognize the Yazidi faith.

PARIS: The world is failing Yazidi women forced into sex slavery by Daesh militants in Iraq and Syria, with 3,000 still unaccounted for, according to the head of a charity dedicated to helping survivors recover from their horrific experiences.
Murad Ismael said many Yazidi women and girls have been brainwashed or killed in captivity, while those who have managed to escape after years of enslavement and rape were left struggling to survive without an income or identity papers.
“Every inch of these women’s body and soul is broken,” said Ismael, executive director of Yazda.
“And yet the international system is failing to embrace them and help them return to normal life,” said Ismael ahead of the Foundation’s Trust Conference on modern slavery in Brussels on Wednesday.
“These girls, they just want to resume school, go back to normal. But they’re not given any income or support so many of them have to be a father and a mother to their siblings, in addition to being a survivor.”
The Yazidi, a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of ancient Middle Eastern religions, are regarded by Daesh as devil-worshippers.
Thousands of women and girls of the Yazidi faith were abducted, tortured and sexually abused by Daesh fighters who invaded their homeland in northwest Iraq, in 2014.
The militants were driven out a year ago, but most Yazidis have yet to return to their villages and nearly 3,000 women and children remain in captivity.
“We used to get over 100 rescued women and girls arriving to our office each month, but now we only see five or six,” said Ismael.
“The pace of rescues is slowing down because many of these women have already been killed or brainwashed by their captors.”
Manal, a young Yazidi woman who was kidnapped at the age of 17 by Daesh in 2014 and is now being supported by Yazda after being rescued, said her captors beat her until she was unconscious.
“When I woke up there were scars on my body and blood all over my clothes,” she said in Arabic through a translator.
“I tried to kill myself several times but I didn’t succeed. They didn’t care and raped me again and again.”
Now living with her family in a refugee camp in Qadiya, northern Iraq, she said she wanted to become a psychiatrist to help other survivors.
Baroness Nicholson, founder and chair of the British-based AMAR Foundation which provides education and health care in the Middle East, said the world’s religions should urgently recognize the Yazidi faith.
“Unless this is done, they will continue to be considered by some – quite wrongly — as devil worshippers, giving vile people the excuse they need to attack them,” she said by email.
Nicholson urged the international community to ensure the Yazidis could return home safely, and offer them asylum if they could not face doing so.
“The horrendous suffering of those women and girls so monstrously violated by Daesh should remain in the public consciousness forever,” she said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi declared victory over Daesh in December, five months after his forces recaptured the country’s second city Mosul in a protracted battle with the militants.
The group continues to carry out bombings, assassinations and ambushes in different areas of Iraq, and remains active in neighboring Syria.
“It’s incredible that there has been no justice, not a single trial” for the massacre and detention of 12,000 Yazidi people, Ismael said at the Trust Conference on Wednesday.
“Those (Yazidis) who survived have no hope to return to their homes, it’s all land mines and mass graves,” he added.


Putin says Daesh has seized 700 hostages in Syria

Updated 30 min 22 sec ago
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Putin says Daesh has seized 700 hostages in Syria

SOCHI: President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Daesh militants had seized nearly 700 hostages in part of Syria controlled by US-backed forces and issued an ultimatum promising to execute 10 people every day.
Speaking in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Putin said the hostages included several US and European nationals, adding that Daesh was expanding its control in territory controlled by US and US-backed forces.
Putin did not specify what the militants' demands were.

Earlier on Thursday, UN humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland told reporters that Russia and Turkey plan to give more time for the implementation of their de-escalation deal in the Syrian province of Idlib, a “great relief” for 3 million civilians in the area.
But there were still “a million unanswered questions” about how the deal would work, and what would happen if groups designated as terrorists refused to lay down their weapons.
Speaking after a regular Syria humanitarian meeting in Geneva, Egeland said Syria’s ally Russia had confirmed that Damascus had scrapped a “very concerning” law allowing the expropriation of land and property from refugees.
Idlib and adjacent areas are the last stronghold of rebels who rose up against President Bashar Assad in 2011, and the UN has warned that a battle to restore Assad’s control over the zone could be the worst of the seven-year-old war.
Turkey and Russia’s deal set up a buffer zone running 15-20 km (9-13 miles) deep into rebel territory that originally had to be free of heavy weapons and jihadists by Monday.
“There will be more time for diplomacy,” Egeland said.
“I was heartened to hear both Russia and Turkey say they are optimistic, they can achieve much more through negotiations, and they are generally very positive on the implementation of this deal which is giving a relief, a pause in fighting, to Idlib.”
Egeland said there were 12,000 humanitarian workers in the area, and Idlib had now gone five weeks without an air raid, something he could not remember in the past three years.
In the east, however, fighting was raging around several villages inhabited by 15,000 people, including Daesh fighters and their families, who were under attack by Syrian government and Kurdish forces, and 7,000 civilians had fled.
Egeland advises UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who has spent four years trying in vain to broker a political agreement to stop the war, and who said on Wednesday he would leave in November.
Egeland said he would also leave at the end of November, saying it had been an exhausting job in addition to his role as head of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
“There will be another team,” he said. “The job is not even half done.”