Commemorating the Third Anniversary of the Genocide Against the Yazidis 

Commemorating the Third Anniversary of the Genocide Against the Yazidis 

Today, 3 August 2017, marks the third anniversary of the genocide against the Yazidi. In the summer of 2014, the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS) launched a systematic campaign of mass atrocities against civilians in northern Iraq. By 3 August that campaign reached Sinjar City and many other towns and villages in the region that were home to a significant population of Yazidis, a distinct ethno- religious minority group with centuries of heritage.

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Meeting in Hamburg

Today, I was honored to meet a group of representatives from the Government of Hamburg, Germany, journalists, activists from civil society, and representatives of a number of universities in the town hall of Hamburg. 

We discussed many topics, including; the current needs of genocide victims and the current situation of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria. 

Thanks to Körber Foundation for organizing this meeting and thanks to the State of Hamburg for supporting it.

( Photographer : Jann Wilken) 

June 13, 2017

Nadia Murad

A statement from Nadia Murad regarding the liberation of Kocho

With tears streaming down my face, I have received the news that my village of Kocho is being liberated by the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Force. The liberation of Kocho is a victory for humanity. It is a victory of good over evil. Nonetheless, this victory is incomplete. The world has left my people to endure an ongoing Genocide.

The Yazidi community has been waiting for three years, while constantly asking the international community to take the Yazidi Genocide seriously and to grant the most basic rights of victims in the aftermath of the Genocide. So little changed in those three years. The Yazidi areas, including Kocho, have remained either under control of the Islamic State or extremely unsafe after liberation. The liberated areas of Sinjar and Nineveh Plain, even two years after liberation, remained a battlefield for political and armed conflict and our people have not been allowed to have their say. Our fear today is that the Yazidi homeland in Sinjar will be divided into three or more regions and the opposing factions will fight for control of our land – not to advance the dignity of our people. To date, the Yazidis have obtained no rights and our demands to liberate our areas, provide international protection, or to attain justice for the crimes committed have not been met.

There have been over 40 mass graves found in Sinjar. I am horrified by the thought of the remains of six of my brothers in those graves, along with 700 other Yazidis who were summarily executed on the 15th of August, 2014.

Despite these deep wounds, I would like to thank everyone who participated in the liberation of Kocho and other areas. The liberation of Kocho is a defeat for ISIS and a slap on faces of terrorists. It also assures that humanity will not be defeated by terrorism.

Kocho is now liberated but it is a ghost’s village. While it was under siege for  12 days under the Islamic State in summer 2014, we called for help, but a genocide was committed against us. The men were killed in masses, women were kidnapped and raped, and children were stripped away from their mothers. Kocho is one of the capital crimes of the 21st century. It is with this in mind that I ask the liberating and security forces to preserve all findings, so there will be living evidence of the Islamic State crimes forever.

A Statement by Nadia Murad

on May 25, 2017

A Meeting with his Holiness Pope Francis

I am blessed to be in one of the most peaceful places, The Holy See, where I met his Holiness Pope Francis during the Wednesday General Audience, 3rd May 2017. I felt his Holiness peace, hope, forgiveness and mercy after his warm welcome. What made me happy that our holy father knew me and knew about my work! Which makes me feel that he has blessed my mission. I also met the Republic of Vatican Minister of Foreign Affairs Archbishop Gallagher and the British Ambassador for the Holy See Mrs. Sally Axworthy. 

During these meetings, I asked for helping Yazidis who are still in ISIS captivity, acknowledged the Vatican support for minorities, discussed the scope for an autonomous region for minorities in Iraq, highlighted the current situation and challenges facing religious minorities in Iraq and Syria particularly the victims and internally displaced people as well as immigrants. I also overviewed my international campaign to bring ISIS to Justice (UN; ICC; and Parliaments motions) and the importance of cooperation between minorities as well as their future. I would like to thank Yazda UK team Mr. Torlach Denihan, Mrs. Shiela and Mr. Ahmed Khudiada who accompanied me during this journey. 

Photos are courtesy of
1. Mrs Sally Axworthy twitter account

كنت مباركة بأن أزور ارض السلام و الأمان المقدسة ( الفاتيكان) حيث التقيت فيها بقداسة البابا فرانسيس خلال مراسيم يوم الاربعاء للألتقاء بالناس في الثالث من مايو 2017. شعرت بعظمة محبته و السلام و التسامح و الرحمة التي يحملها في قلبه بعد بترحيبه وأستقباله الحار لي. ما أدهشني ان قداسته يعرفني و مطلع على عملي و شعرت بأنه بارك رسالتي الانسانية. كذلك التقيت بوزير خارجية الفاتيكان السيد پول گاليگر و سفيرة بريطانيا لدى الفاتيكان السيدة سالي أوكسورث. خلال هذه الاجتماعات طلبت المساعدة بتحرير المختطفات الأيزيديات و دعم الفاتيكان للأقليات و المطالبة بأنشاء منطقة أمنة للأقليات في العراق و ركزت على الصعوبات التي تواجهها الأقليات وخصوصآ ضحايا الارهاب و النازحيين و اللأجئيين. ثم تحدث عن مهمتي الدولي لجلب داعش و مجرمي الابادة للمحاكمة عن طريق المحكمة الدولية و بعد اعتراف الامم المتحدة و البرلمانات العديد من الدول بالابادة. تحدث عن مستقبل الاقليات و اهمية التعاون بينهم. أشكر فريق يزدا-بريطانيا لأصطحابهم لي خلال هذه الزيارات و بالاخص السيد تورلاك ديلنهان و شيلا و الاخ احمد خديدة نائب المدير التنفيدذي لمنظمة يزدا
الصور المرفقة مأخوذة من حساب السفيرة البريطانية على التويتر و موقع


Nadia Murad visit to Stanford University

زيارة نادية مراد لجامعة ستانفورد- أمريكا

Nadia Murad, a Yazidi human rights activist and UNODC GoodWill Ambassador, and Yazda President Haider Elias spoke at the annual Stanford Global Studies student dinner on April 17.

As a part of our mission to help the Yazidi victims, Nadia Murad and Yazda organization continue to supporting a cause of Yazidi community and bringing their issues to the attention of the international community. We continue to focus on advocacy and raising awareness of the nearly half million of men, women, and children from this minority.

Speaking to Stanford, Ms. Murad and Elias mentioned that one of their current priorities is to persuade the United States and other world governments to create a protected zone with a peacekeeping force in the area of northern Iraq that the Yazidi people and other minority communities have called home for thousands of years

During the event, Ms. Murad explained the Importance of bringing ISIS members to International Criminal Court. If we do not bring ISIS to justice, she said, we legitimize them as a force and as warriors. Bringing the ISIS senior leaders deemed most responsible for being tried at the ICC would feel like justice and we want to see them in the court as criminals. She also mentioned, “We want the world to see them talk and confess what they were doing so the entire world can watch and listen to them as criminals, not as warriors”. And we don’t believe defeating ISIS by bombing alone will exterminate them, because the ideology is still there. We have to fight the ideology.

Nadia Murad's statement on the occasion of the Armenian Genocide

On behalf of the Yazidi community, I wish to extend our compassion and understanding to our Armenian sisters and brothers, who are today commemorating the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Just over a century ago, the Ottoman Turkish authorities perpetrated a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Yazidis. Millions were killed or perished on death marches without food or water, just as our Yazidi people were murdered on Mt Sinjar in 2014 at the hands of ISIS. Armenian women and children were abducted, forcibly converted, raped, trafficked and forced to marry their perpetrators, tortures that thousands of our Yazidi women and children are enduring now. Yazidis and Armenians have been neighbours for centuries. The Armenian Genocide, which began on 24 April 1915, displaced so many. Yazidis numbered more than half a million people in Turkey a century ago. Now there are only a few hundred. In contrast, Armenia is home to tens of thousands of Yazidis and grants them freedom to practise their religion and culture, and to participate fully in political and social life. Turkey still today denies the genocide of the Armenians, a denial that is entrenched in the Turkish establishment and compounds the intergenerational trauma for Armenians. As Yazidis, we call on the global community to recognise the heinous crimes committed against the Armenians and other minorities by the Ottoman Turks. And let this also be a reminder to the world of the importance of recognition and perpetrator accountability. I hope that in 100 years, Yazidis are not still asking for acknowledgement of the crimes they endured under ISIS, but rather, that the history books will tell of perpetrators being prosecuted and a Yazidi community that is surviving and flourishing, like the Armenians are today.  

Press Release: On the Occasion of the Yazidi New Year (Çaršama Sarî Salî)

Nadia Murad: A message on the occassion of Yazidi new year "Charshame Sari Sali" 

Since August 3, 2014, Yazidis continue to endure an ongoing genocide perpetrated by the so-called ‘Islamic State’, which had one target - the total annihilation of Yazidi identity and existence. Since the beginning of this genocide; celebrations and joyful events have been almost entirely absent from our community which remain in  mourning. Yazidis have tended to cancel almost all of their traditional social and religious  ceremonies.  

On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, we will be welcoming the Yazidi new Year “Çaršama Sarî Salî”.  This is a unique celebration to the Yezidi community, a commemoration of the day in which the creation of the universe by the angels was completed and life and nature began, and also to mark the beginning of fertility on earth. 

Yazidis start their prayers by asking God “Xuda” to bring peace and protection to all nations including Yazidis. Yazda’s staff, members and volunteers would like to send their most sincere wishes for peace and protection to everyone in every corner of the world, including our Yazidi people. 

Yazda affirms the   fortitude of our people in face of  many genocides endured over the years. Yazda  calls on our people to continue to observe their religious events to preserve the ethno-religious identity and heritage of one of most ancient peoples, the Yazidis. 

As we celebrate this holiday, we remember the more than 3,000 Yazidi women and children who are still in ISIS captivity where the most heinous crimes are being committed against them. We also remember the thousands of widows and orphans who are facing enormous difficulties on a daily basis after the genocide. The majority of the Yazidi community in Kurdistan Region, Iraq, Syria and Turkey are in a very difficult situation. Most  Yazidi areas in Iraq are still either under the control of IS or unsuitable for Yazidis to return to because of insecurity and devastation.

Yazidis have not received justice or had their rights vindicated by means of legal tribunal holding ISIS perpetrators accountable for the genocide. These terrorists still  enjoy universal impunity, as there is still no legal mechanism to hold them accountable. Additionally, Yazidis' needs have not been met by the international community, regional and local governments, including their demand to establish a safe zone under international protection, or the creation of a new administrative area that would guarantee full civic rights for Yazidis and other persecuted religious minorities in Iraq and Syria. 

The situation in the Yazidi areas is one of increased instability and threat, especially Sinjar, which have become a battleground for local and regional conflicts between many competing political and military groups. This situation has resulted in creating the greatest danger facing the Yazidi community, which may ultimately be more dangerous than the ongoing genocide itself.

On this occasion, Yazda calls on the international community (the United States, the member states of the European Union, the permanent members of the United Nations and other concerned countries) to:

  1. Establish an accountability mechanism to hold ISIS criminals legally accountable for  genocide and other crimes against the Yazidi.  
  2. Establish safe zones or provide international protection for Yazidis and other persecuted religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.  
  3. Rescue more than 3000 Yazidi women and children from ISIS captivity and provide more support to ISIS survivors such as psychotherapy and humanitarian assistance.   
  4. Continue to provide Yazidis with opportunities to relocate to safe countries through specific immigration programmes such as the Canadian, German and Australian programmes.