Today marks the three-year anniversary since Daesh violently attacked the Yazidi people in northern Iraq. On 3rd August 2014, Daesh militants moved from Mosul to Sinjar and carried out systematic executions of Yazidis in what has been one of the most brutal ethnic cleansing campaigns in recent history.
The group also kidnapped and enslaved thousands of women and young girls, transporting them around the so-called caliphate as sex slaves. According to Yazda, an organisation that supports Yazidis all over the world, over 1,600 women and girls remain unaccounted for, while over 1,700 men and boys are still missing.
Many who fled, as Daesh pillaged, killed and kidnapped, managed to escape to Sinjar Mountains where they were besieged and left to die by Daesh militants. Images of women, men and children stuck on the mountain live long in the psyche of the Yazidi people.
Among other atrocities committed by Daesh was in the town of Kocho, located south of Sinjar. After gaining control of the town, Daesh militants rounded up approximately 1,700 women, men and children and gathered them in the town’s school before carrying out a brutal series of executions. Within two hours, hundreds had been killed.
One of the survivors of Daesh’s brutal attack on the Yazidi people, Nadia Murad, who is also a UN Goodwill Ambassador and human rights activist, visited her town of Kocho after its liberation, calling it “a victory for humanity” and “a victory of good over evil”.
Three years on, Yazidis still seek accountability and justice for those who tore apart communities and eradicated families. Today, the first international conference was held in Baghdad to commemorate the 3rd anniversary of the Yazidi Genocide. This will further bring to light the crimes against Yazidis and urge the international community to work together to bring justice to those removed from humanity.
As Nadia Murad said, in a joint statement released today by Yazda:
“Daesh members must also be held accountable for their crimes and a comprehensive reconciliation strategy must be established in consultation with all affected communities to ensure that the cycle of violence, discrimination and oppression against my people, the Yazidis, and other minorities in Iraq is broken”