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“Our future and dreams have been taken”: Yazidi slave survivor urges leaders to act

“Our future and dreams have been taken”: Yazidi slave survivor urges leaders to act

by Liz Mermin

A young Yazidi survivor of slavery is in the UK urging British lawmakers and lawyers today to help free the thousands of women and girls that remain captive at the hands of Islamic State militants in northern Iraq.

Nadia Murad Basee Taha, 21, who is in London to address the parliamentarians, is also appealing for more help for displaced Yazidis living in refugee camps, and to investigate whether the militant group has committed genocide against the Yazidi people.

Taha took her message to the U.N. Security Council in December, and has spoken to successive governments, appealing to the international community to act.

She said she was abducted by Islamic State militants from her village in Iraq in August 2014, and taken to the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, where she and thousands of other Yazidi women and children were exchanged by militants as gifts.

She was tortured and repeatedly raped before she escaped three months later. She is now living in Germany.

"I'm in touch with friends - girls who are still in captivity. They are asking for help, to be freed," she said.

Around 5,000 Yazidi men and women were captured by the militants in the summer of 2014. Some 2,000 have managed to escape or been smuggled out of Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria, activists say. 

Islamic State militants consider the Yazidis to be devil-worshippers. The ancient Yazidi faith blends elements of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Islam.

Taha has travelled to Egypt, Greece, Kuwait, Norway, the United States and Britain with her message. 

Most of the Yazidi population, numbering around half a million, are displaced in camps in Iraq's Kurdistan.

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