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IS Victim Appeals for International Justice

  • Margaret Besheer

FILE - More than 200 Yazidi sect members, freed eight months after they were taken captive by Islamic State militants, wait on the edge of Kirkuk for relocation, April 8, 2015.

FILE - More than 200 Yazidi sect members, freed eight months after they were taken captive by Islamic State militants, wait on the edge of Kirkuk for relocation, April 8, 2015.

A young Yazidi woman, who was held captive and abused by self-proclaimed Islamic State fighters in Iraq, has appealed to the international community to refer the terror group's crimes to the International Criminal Court.

Accusing IS of carrying out "collective genocide" on the Yazidi religious minority, Nadia Murad Basee Taha, 21, told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that "there were murders, collective slavery — and that needs to be qualified as genocide.

"I hope you can convey this — the case of genocide — to the International Court," she said in an emotional but firm appeal to the 15-nation council at a special session on the trafficking of persons by IS.

Taha recounted the abuses she says she suffered at the hands of the group's fighters — including forced marriage, sexual abuse and gang rape.

FILE - Kurdish Peshmerga forces inspect a site in Hardan village in northern Iraq on Dec. 22, 2014, where Islamic State group fighters allegedly executed people from the Yazidi sect captured when they swept through the area in August.

FILE - Kurdish Peshmerga forces inspect a site in Hardan village in northern Iraq on Dec. 22, 2014, where Islamic State group fighters allegedly executed people from the Yazidi sect captured when they swept through the area in August.

She spoke of the horrors of the terrorists coming to her village in 2014, taking away people and separating families. The village men were killed, she said, including six of her nine brothers. Women and children were taken to the northern city of Mosul, where they suffered unspeakable abuses.

"The Islamic State came with one sole aim: to destroy the Yazidi identity through forced rape, the recruitment of children and the destruction of all of our temples," Taha said.

Staggering figures

The problem of human trafficking is not limited to IS-controlled areas in Iraq and Syria.

The International Labor Organization estimates that at least 20 million people worldwide are the victims of trafficking and forced labor. More than 5 million of them are children. Many live in conflict zones.

"Human trafficking is slavery in the modern age," said U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. He urged states to make sure traffickers "have no space, no way to operate."

FILE - Displaced Yazidis, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State group, head toward the Syrian border Aug. 11, 2014.

FILE - Displaced Yazidis, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State group, head toward the Syrian border Aug. 11, 2014.

In a statement, the Security Council deplored all forms of human trafficking, by both terrorists and criminal organizations.

"For groups like ISIL and Boko Haram, slavery has become one of their most versatile weapons of war used to instill fear, to inflict suffering, to recruit followers, reward fighters, convert people of other faiths, reward combatants, generate revenue," said U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power.

She said these groups are learning from one another's worst practices.

"It's a grotesque race to the bottom," she said.

IS survivor Taha now lives in Germany, where she is receiving medical care for her physical and emotional scars. She implored the international community not to shut its doors to escaping refugees like her who are seeking safety after a long nightmare.

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