At Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday 10 February, two days after Yazidi survivor Nadia Murad shared with British parliamentarians her experience of mass atrocities, torture, rape and sex slavery at the hands of Daesh / ISIS, David Cameron publicly acknowledged her bravery.
Responding to a question from Robert Jenrick MP – Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Genocide Prevention, the secretariat for which is provided by the Aegis Trust – he added, “we must do everything we can to defeat Daesh and its violent ideology.”
Nadia Murad – who in December 2015 addressed the United Nations Security Council about her experiences and about the plight of the thousands of Yazidi women and girls remaining in ISIS hands – was in the public gallery to hear the Prime Minister’s remarks.
Later the same day, Nadia shared her heart-rending story on camera with the Aegis Trust. She was honoured by Cameron’s recognition, she said, but expressed her concern that the Yazidi people, especially those still in captivity, have yet to receive the international protection they need.
“I don’t have much information about politics, but there are things I want from all the world and all governments, and from all humans who will hear my voice,” said the Nobel Peace Prize nominee. “Take a stand for conscience and humanity, to cut off these things happening to us today, so it will not happen to other children, women and girls … and eradicate this terrorism from the World.”
You can view Nadia’s story here, including the exchange during Prime Minister’s Questions, and her response. A translation of Nadia’s account follows.
For more information about the plight of the Yazidi and other minorities in Iraq, read “Our Generation is Gone”, the excellent November 2015 report by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“My name is Nadia Murad. I’m from Sinjar, from the village of Kocho in Iraq. Although we were Yazidis, I loved all the faiths.
“All my life, I see my family in the same village, in Kocho. Brothers, sisters, nephews, mother, all in one house. The Yazidis there were living a simple life but a beautiful life, and we were satisfied.
“On August 3rd , I was still in the village when Daesh attacked the Yazidi in Sinjar. As people were escaping to the mountain, 3,000 Yazidis – men and children – were killed on that day. Those who couldn’t leave, such as disabled people, [Daesh] killed them in their villages.
“We didn’t have time to escape to the mountain. When they besieged us, they surrounded the village, so we couldn’t escape. Men in the village were telephoning, they were asking for help so that we could escape from the village. But we didn’t get help from any side.
“The amir [of Daesh] came and spoke to the head of our village: “You have three days to convert or we will kill all of you.”
“Daesh, hundreds entered our village and gathered all of us inside the school. The goal of Daesh in coming, they told us when they came: “We want to wipe the Yazidi from the face of the Earth.”
“They took our possessions; took our mobiles, took our IDs. They took our jewellery, Including our earrings. Then they separated and took out the men. My brothers were taken with the men. They were killing them, and we women and girls were seeing them through the windows.
“They took us to Solagh. In Solagh, again they separated us – into unmarried girls, boys, unmarried women, elderly women. They separated 80 elderly women from us and they killed them in Solagh. And my mother was among them. The boys, they took them to their training sites.
“We were 150 girls, aged 9 to 25 or 26. They took us away in buses that night.They took us to Mosul, to one of their centres where there were hundreds of girls.
“They didn’t kill us because they wanted to rape us. I tried to escape from the first man, but before I could get through the window he caught me. Anyone could rape us … they were selling us and renting us.
“We never expected to be able to escape because there was Daesh wherever we looked.But I escaped with the help of a family in Mosul.That family, honestly I didn’t expect that there was anyone who would help us.Nobody helped us until that day.
“Of course it’s a big thing, and I’m honoured today; David Cameron in parliament mentioned my name and my community.He said the Yazidi have been persecuted greatly.
“[Yet] nothing is done for us… we can’t bear this anymore. I want serious action, not just words, and I want international protection to be provided to us. Rescue our girls and women, and recognize what happened to the Yazidi as a genocide.
“Thousands are missing, and 20, 27 mass graves have been discovered; they have not been looked at yet. In the camps, our people in their thousands go hungry.
“Those held by Daesh, for a year and several months, too much, too much, too much has happened to them, because every hour, what I have seen in the past, it’s been happening to them.
“I don’t have much information about politics, but there are things I want from all the world and all governments, and from all humans who will hear my voice: that we all stand together, from all religions and all countries. Whatever happens, we all are human and we all are the same. That we take a stand for conscience and humanity, to cut off these things happening to us today, so that this will not happen to other people; so it will not happen to other children, women and girls,and to eradicate this terrorism from the World.”