- Iraqi State Departm,UN, UNHCHR, State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament
What has happened to those women?
On 2 August, the IS attacked Sinjar and its surrounding areas, inhabited for more than 4000 years by peaceful Yezidi community.
We have seen long columns of women, men and children fleeing their homeland, trapped in barren Sinjar Mount without basic necessities and vital supplies and facing death.
We have become witnesses to these atrocities, but an equally horrendous crime has gone largely unreported by the international and mainstream media: the abduction of women, their rape and sexual slavery.
According to an Iraqi lawmaker of Yezidi origin Vian Dakhil, who addressed the Iraqi parliament last week, with tears in her eyes, “IS militants have abducted five hundred Yezidis women”. Later the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry indicated that families of the captives had contacted them to report the abduction of their womenfolk.
On 6 August, a spokesman for the Iraqi Red Cross, Muhammad al-Khuza’ee, stated that the Yezidi and Christian women “were taken as spoils of war and exposed at a market for sale”. The women were reportedly subjected to sexual assault, gang rape and sexual slavery. There have been reports of families throwing their children from the mountain to protect them from falling into the hands of the jihadists.
In the context of the Middle East in general and Iraqi as well as Kurdish communities in particular, the survivors face more dramatic consequences, because women’s bodies and sexuality embody family/collective honour. They risk murder at the hands of male members of their family and the community to preserve the group’s collective honour. If the women fall pregnant, their babies also risk death. Such violence, especially rape, can also be detrimental to perpetrating communities in the longer term; the anger desire for revenge it generates can last for generations.
Abduction and sexual violence in conflict are crimes against humanity and have been recognised by the UN Security Council as a threat to world peace and security. Recognition came when the UN adopted Resolution 1820 in June 2008. These crimes are not committed against individual women, but are used as a tactic of war and that requires international mobilization at state and organizational levels.
Such a mobilization should take numerous forms, including: immediate and effective intervention to stop the crimes; recognition by media channels and state agencies that women's lives and their bodies are unacknowledged casualties of war; interventions to change the general culture and attitudes towards women and sexuality with public awareness programmers about consequences for individual and community health of sexual and gender-based violence.
Finally, an end to impunity, with individuals as well as militia organizations and their leaders being held fully accountable for their crimes and punished accordingly.
Justice for the five hundred Yezidi women captured by IS militants.
The Justice for the Yezidi women captured by IS militants petition to Iraqi State Departm,UN, UNHCHR, State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament was written by FreeMyKurdishSisters and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.