Nadia Murad’s TIME Magazine Letter to Global Leaders

Help us stamp out genocide

In 2014, my life changed forever when ISIS invaded my home region of Sinjar and began ethnically cleansing Iraq of all Yezidis. They killed approximately 5,000 of us and took over 6,400, mostly women and children, into captivity, many as sexual slaves.

After I escaped captivity, I knew I must fight to end the genocide against the Yezidis. I began to tell the world about what happened to my people and to advocate for female survivors of sexual violence globally. Five years later, I am disheartened by the lack of progress. Hundreds of thousands of Yezidis remain displaced, ISIS perpetrators have not been publicly tried for their crimes, and over 3,000 of our women and children are still missing. If the global community cannot unite to aid survivors of sexual slavery and terrorism in Iraq, what does it say about our ability to create change globally?

While survivors like me can bring public awareness to issues affecting communities in crisis, for there to be tangible change the international community must act swiftly. My organization, Nadia’s Initiative, works to leave a safer, more just world for future generations. However, we cannot do it on our own. States need to recognize the Yezidi genocide and hold perpetrators of mass atrocities like ISIS publicly accountable in court, sending a clear global message.

International leaders have the power to influence change and shift conversations about global crises. I ask them to work with survivors to prevent mass atrocities from happening. Together, let’s make “Never again” a reality.