Human Rights

Doctor's heroic humanitarian campaign to help ISIS victims in Iraq

Iraq

Doctor Nagham Hassan has look through the issues of over a thousands ISIS victims in Iraq, including survivors of atrocities committed in Sinjar.

Nagham Hassan is a female Iraqi doctor who has dedicated her life to helping the victims of ISIS now living in displacement camps across the country. The doctor estimates that she has observed over 1,200 cases, with each person painfully recalling their stories to her.

Following their recollection of the horrors that they have witnessed, Dr Nagham attempts to treat the victims. Many now live in camps, which lack the minimum standards of living. According to Dr Nagham, the stories of Yazidi victims who were affected after the militant group’s invasion of Mosul and Sinjar in 2014 are amongst the most horrific stories that she has heard.

The doctor recalls the story of a young Yazidi woman who was kidnapped three months after her marriage only to be sold into slavery over 15 times. Upon trying to escape the militant group, the woman and her friend were arrested. She then witnessed her friend being beheaded in front of her. Following this escape attempt, the Yazidi woman was enslaved once again and was only able to escape after ISIS militants released her upon receiving information about an air strike on their area.

Stories like that of the Yazidi woman are not rare amongst ISIS’ victims.

Thousands of Yazidi women and children were forced into slavery by the militant group with many of them now facing psychological damage. As a result, Dr Nagham says that she will continue to devote her life to helping them seek treatment.

Since the liberation of Iraq from ISIS in December 2017, local and International organisations have launched projects to heal ISIS’ victims from the psychological injuries that they have witnessed.

While thousands were able to escape the militant group, human rights groups say that there are over 3,200 women and children who are still unaccounted for, despite the defeat of ISIS.

The Iraqi Government and human rights organisations must make an effort to relieve these victims of their horrors by providing treatment to the thousands of families who are still suffering. Despite psychological treatment still being a taboo subject in the region, authorities and local leaders should work together to change this perception as many individuals are in need of treatment.