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Yezidi survivor Nadia Murad urges UN Security Council to act

Nadia Murad. Photo: Mark Wilson/AFP

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Words are not enough, action is needed, Yezidi survivor and activist Nadia Murad told the UN Security Council on Tuesday, one year after she gave emotional testimony to the body of the abuse she had suffered at the hands of ISIS. “I don’t know what more it will take to move you,” she told the council, bemoaning the slow progress being made to end the genocide of the Yezidi people and bring the perpetrators to justice. “I don’t understand why the corpses of my murdered mother, and brothers, still lie in mass graves, unprotected and unexamined,” she said. “I don’t understand how ISIS militants can publish evidence of their crimes online, and not be arrested for them. I don’t know why, when ISIS has no friends on the Council, you still do not move forward.” Murad spoke at a special session of the council to discuss trafficking in persons in conflict situations. In September, she was appointed a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. Over 3,000 Yezidi women, children, and men remain in captivity, and more than 350,000 are displaced from their homes in the Kurdistan Region, she detailed to the council. Members of her own family also remain under ISIS captivity. She told the council the story of her 13-year old nephew Malik who has been indoctrinated and trained as a child soldier after years of ISIS captivity. After a desperate search, her family found Malik and arranged for him to escape. But he refused, “saying that Yezidis are infidels who should convert and join ISIS.” “I am worried sick that he will soon be on the frontlines,” said Murad. Murad commended some progress that has been made to establish a mechanism to gather evidence of ISIS crimes, “But,” she said, “time is running out. And words of support are not enough. Action is needed.” She called on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to request the Security Council establish an international independent commission for Iraq “to investigate and document the crimes committed by ISIS,” adding her willingness to face her abusers in court in order to bring justice to her and all victims of war and terror. “My fight is a fight for justice,” she told the influential council members. “You, the world’s most powerful nations, can stop this.”

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