Today, I received information that the area of Afrin inhabited by Kurds, Yazidis and Christians is under siege from all sides. There is only one road through which people can leave the city. 200 civilians have been killed, including 3 Yazidi children. Shrines and religious sites have been destroyed or forcibly converted into mosques. Peoples homes are being looted and minorities are being shamed by extremist militias.
Many of these actions are war crimes and should be documented. This horror is reminiscent of the initial actions of ISIS in Iraq. Medical and healthcare services are urgently needed. This situation foreshadows “ethnic cleansing” and genocide.
I appeal to the UN, the EU, and UN Security Council to demand that all sides respect the rights of civilians and work toward a cease fire. I also call on humanitarian organizations and UN agencies to provide support to civilians in the areas where access to food and medical is rapidly disappearing.
All sides in Syria should work together for a peace process that will ensure peace, stability, the protection of the rights of all religious and ethnic minorities. Now is the time to heal wounds, avoid further escalations and return to normality for people in Iraq and Syria.
Nadia Murad Basee
UNODC Goodwill Ambassador
Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking