International Conference at Ministerial Level on the Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East.

 

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to address conference attendees today, and I commend organizers for focusing on Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East.   Thank you.   

I am honored to be here to discuss the plight of minorities who face persecution; I would like to talk about HOPE and REALITY.  

I survived the 2014 Yazidi genocide, as did other Yazidis - but many Yazidis didn’t survive; some were murdered and many remain in captivity.

The story of Yazidis suffering in Iraq did not begin with the arrival of  ISIS. Historically, the Yazidi community have always been deprived of their most basic rights in Iraq. Even today the Iraqi government and the government of Kurdistan impose a siege on Yezidi by closing the roads leading to Sinjar and Bashiqa – the area in which Yazidis live.  Most recently, Yazidis were promised five seats in the Iraqi parliament, according to the decision of the Federal Court of Iraq.  However, the Iraqi parliament refused and gave only one seat to the Yazidis in the elections which took place on May 12th.  So history has repeated itself - once  again The Yazidis is without proper representation in the next Iraqi parliament – one seat is completely disproportionate to the percentage of Yazidis living in Iraq.

My survival came with PURPOSE, RESPONSIBILITY and HOPE.  I hoped telling the story of the Yazidi genocide - telling world leaders publicly -- what had taken place and what continues to occur today - would bring change.  My actions, and the actions of other Yazidis who spoke out courageously, gave our people HOPE.  

We hoped travelling the world and describing in detail what we had seen and experienced would mobilize governments, organizations and individuals to act and fight the persecution that minorities face. 

What I have learned is HOPE is dangerous.  For years now, the Yazidi people have only had HOPE.  Hope that things would change.  Hope that the world would act.  Hope that we could go home.  Hope that we could have medical care.  Hope that our children would be educated. But, hope has an expiration date.  

Years of advocacy, years of telling the Yazidi experience to world leaders, has been met with expressions of sympathy and outrage.  But, when expressions of sympathy and outrage are not transformed into action to rebuild and protect – hope expires.  Hope requires action to survive.

We must confront REALITY!  Attacks against minorities occur with haunting frequency.  As a world, we have become deaf to such news.  We see, we listen, and we express sympathy -- but we fail to act. Sympathy doesn’t change the world.  

Today, most Yazidis remain in IDP camps where they have lived in dire conditions for years. Half of the Yazidi homeland is not de-mined, basic services do not exist and most homes are inhabitable. Thousands of Yazidis are in captivity and mass graves remain undocumented and unguarded.   There are blockades, which prohibit Yazidis from returning to Sinjar.  The psychological trauma is unimaginable.  This is the REALITY!  

I ask you - imagine if you and your family members were living in an IDP camp for years, what action would you want from the world?  How much HOPE would you have?  

Currently, the future of Yazidis and other minorities in Iraq is bleak.  Inaction is quickly turning into the extinction of the Yazidi people.  Without concrete steps to help the Yazidi minority rebuild their lives, the Yazidi people will cease to exist.  A culture will die.  

The Iraqi and Kurdistan governments must take immediate steps to help Yazidis recover from this genocide. I call on both governments to put real measures in place to protect Yazidis and other minorities.   I call for action.

Benign neglect and indifference inflicts the same harm and pain as ISIS – it is simply masked in a different strategy.  To do nothing is to be complicit in genocide.  The IRAQI and Kurdistan governments need to act and they deserve the support of other Nations.  I call on all governments to work together to bring an end to the persecution of minorities.  And, part of the solution to ending persecution is rebuilding!  Right the wrong!  Take action and sustain hope.

It is possible for Yazidis living in Iraq to return to their homes.  It is possible to rebuild.  Together, we have the capacity to de-mine the land, we have the resources to re-build communities and provide basic services such water, education, and healthcare.   We can choose to make Yazidis part of local security forces.  We can ensure the blockade to Yazidi areas is lifted.   

Rebuilding and protecting minorities is a choice.  Together, we can make the right choice!  We can choose to protect minorities and ensure that extinction is not an outcome for any people or culture.

I call on all nations to join us and commit to taking these steps.  We must realize that uniting, working together, protecting minorities and rebuilding, is the only way to heal after genocidal campaigns.  If we fail to do so, we make genocide possible. 

We must look past what divides us and finds what unites us.  Let HOPE unite us.  Let humanity unite us.  For hope and humanity is the choice we can give our children – it is what our children deserve.  We can make the peace and prosperity the REALITY for minority children.

Thank you!

Nadia Murad

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كلمة نادية – بروكسل 

اود ان اعبر عن خالص امتنانى لاتاحة الفرصة لي للتحدث امام الحاضرين في هذا المؤتمر، واثني على جهود المنظمين لتركيزهم على ضحايا العنف المرتكب على اساس الدين والعرق في منطقة شرق الاوسط. شكرا لكم 

يشرفني ان اكون موجودة هنا وان نناقش معا محنة الاقليات الذين يواجهون الاضطهاد ، ارغب ان اتحدث عن الامل والحقيقة. 

انني نجوت من ابادة الايزيدية التي ارتكبت عام 2014، مع العديد من الايزيديين الاخريين، لكن العديد منهم لم يستطيعوا النجاة، بعضهم تم قتلهم واخرون لازالوا في الاسر.

 قصة معانات الايزيدية في العراق لم تبدأ فقط مع مجئ داعش ولم تنتهي بهزيمة داعش في العراق.  الايزيديين كانوا دئما محرومين من ابسط حقوقهم في العراق. اليوم الحكومة العراقية وحكومة كوردستان تفرضان الحصار على المناطق الايزيدية بغلق الطرق المؤدية الى سنجار ويعشيقة... استحقاق الايزيدية كان خمسة مقاعد في البرلمان العراقي حسب قرار المحكمة الاتحادية العراقية ، لكن البرلمان العراقي رفض ان يتم زيادة هذه المقاعد واكتفى بمقعد واحد لكوتا الايزيدية ، الانتخابات جرت في العراق قبل يومين ومرةالايزيدية سوف يكونوا بلا تمثيل في البرلمان العراقي القادم ماعدا مقعد الكوتا الذي لا يتناسب مع نسبتهم السكانية

بقائي على قيد الحياة جاء لاسباب تتعلق بالمسؤولية والامل ، تحدتث عن قصة ابادة الايزيدية لقادة العالم علنا، اخبرت للجميع ما حدث وما يحدث اليوم ، عملي وعمل الايزيديين الاخرين الذين تكلموا عن هذه المأساة بشجاعة ، اعطى املا لشعبنا.  

لقد تمكنا من السفر إلى العالم و وصفنا بالتفصيل ما رأيناه وواجهناه من شأنه أن يحرك الحكومات والمنظمات والأفراد للتصدي لمحاربة الاضطهاد الذي تواجهه الأقليات. 

ما تعلمته هو ان الأمل أمر خطير. منذ سنوات ، لم يكن لدى الشعب الايزيدي سوى الأمل. آمل أن الأمور سوف تتغير. آمل أن العالم سوف يتصرف. آمل أن نتمكن من العودة إلى ديارنا. آمل أن نتمكن من الحصول على الرعاية الطبية. امل أن يحصل أطفالنا على التعليم. ولكن ، الأمل لدينا اصبح تاريخ منتهي الصلاحية. 

سنوات من الدفاع عن قضيتنا مضت، سنوات من التحدث عن قصة الايزيدية لقادة العالم مضت بالتعاطف معنا والغضب عن ما حصل احيانا، لكن عندما لا تتحول التعاطف والتعبير عن الغضب الى عمل لاعادة البناء والحماية ، فالامل ينتهي ، الامل يتطلب العمل من اجل البقاء. 

يجب علينا مواجهة الواقع! الهجمات ضد الأقليات تحدث مع تردد كبير .  نحن  كعالم ، أصبحنا صماء لمثل هذه الأخبار. نحن نرى ، ونستمع ، ونعرب عن تعاطفنا - لكننا نفشل في التصرف. هذا هو الواقع. التعاطف لا يغير العالم.

واليوم ، يظل معظم الايزيديين في مخيمات النازحين داخلياً حيث يعيشون في ظروف قاسية لسنوات. نصف اراضي الايزيدية لم يتم  تنظيفه من الالغام ، والخدمات الأساسية غير موجودة ومعظم المنازل غير قابلة للسكن. الآلاف من الايزيديين في الأسر وتظل المقابر الجماعية غير موثقة وغير محمية . هناك عوائق  تمنع الايزيديين من العودة إلى سنجار. الصدمة النفسية لا يمكن تصورها. هذا هو الواقع.

حاليا مستقبل الايزيدية والاقليات الاخرى في العراق مجهول، هذا التقاعس يجعل الايزيدية يتوجهون نحو الانقراض، في حالة اذا لم تكن هناك خطوات ملموسة لمساعدة الايزيدية في اعادة بناء حياتهم، سوف يختفي الشعب الايزيدي ، سوف تموت ثقافة وعراقة هذا الشعب. 

ان الاهمال واللامبالاة يؤديان الى الحاق الضرر وخلق الالم . يحتاج العراق و كوردستان الى التصرف واخذ التدابير لحمايه الأقليات، وهم يستحقون مساندة الامم الاخرى، اطلب من جميع الحكومات للعمل معا الى انهاء الاضطهاد ضد الاقليات، حيث ان جزء من حل هذا الاضطهاد هو اعادة بناء الثقة، تصحيح الاخطاء، اتخاذ الاجراءات والحفاظ على الامل. 

من الممكن للايزيديين الذين يعيشون في العراق العودة إلى ديارهم. من الممكن إعادة الاعمار. معا ، لديكم القدرة على إزالة الألغام من سنجار ، لديكم الموارد لإعادة بناء المجتمعات وتوفير الخدمات الأساسية مثل المياه والتعليم والرعاية الصحية. و على الحكومه العراقيه جعل الايزيديين جزءًا من قوات الأمن لحمايه مناطقهم ، و ضمان رفع الحصار عن المناطق الايزيديّة.

إن إعادة بناء وحماية الأقليات خيار. معا  يمكننا أن نجعل الاختيار الصحيح! يمكننا اختيار حماية الأقليات والتأكد من أن الانقراض ليس نتيجة لأي شعب أو ثقافة.

أدعو جميع الدول للانضمام إلينا والالتزام باتخاذ هذه الخطوات. يجب أن ندرك أن التوحيد والعمل معا وحماية الأقليات وإعادة البناء ، هو السبيل الوحيد للشفاء بعد حملات الإبادة الجماعية. إذا فشلنا في القيام بذلك ، فإننا نجعل الإبادة الجماعية ممكنة.

يجب أن ننظر إلى ما يوحدنا وليس الى ما يفرقنا. الامل أن يوحدنا، الإنسانية توحدنا. الأمل والإنسانية هو الخيار الذي يمكن أن نقدمه لأبنائنا - هذا ما يستحقه أطفالنا. يمكننا أن نجعل السلام والازدهار واقعًا لأطفال الأقليات.

شكرا لكم 

 

 

"Çarśema Séré Salé"

This Wednesday, April 18th, Yazidis around the world celebrate the Yazidi New Year, "Çarśema Séré Salé." It is our time to celebrate the creation of our universe, life, and nature. 

On the occasion of this New Year, I know we will continue to rebuild our community in the coming year. We will make progress despite the difficult aftermath of Da’esh's campaign of genocide against us.  

It has been more than three years since our community in Iraq was attacked. Thousands of Yazidi women and children remain in captivity. The majority of Yazidis in Iraq live in IDP camps. The reconstruction of our homeland has not started. 40% of our homeland has not been de-mined, and more than 47 discovered mass graves in Sinjar have not been examined. 

Difficult times lie ahead, but there is reason for hope. Nations around the world have recognized the Yazidi genocide. Countries such as France have committed to de-mining Sinjar. The U.N. Security Council has estblished a team to investigate genocide crimes committed by Da’esh in Iraq. My foundation just released the first assessment of Sinjar, which will provide other organizations with a framework to develop additional rebuilding programs. https://nadiasinitiative.org/status-of-sinjar/

As we educate the world about the Yazidis, we must encourage all people to imagine Sinjar and the surrounding area as a place that can have a prosperous and peaceful future. Rebuilding can be a slow process, but the more people learn about our culture, the more we can imagine a new future for the region together.  The Yazidis have survived 70 genocides and I know we will overcome this one. This time, however, we must do more than endure. We must work toward a future in which the entire world, not just the Yazidis, say "never again.”

Nadia Murad Basee
UNODC Goodwill Ambassador
Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking

 

Baghdad Blocks De-mining in Sinjar

This week in Paris I met with President Macron’s advisors to the Middle East, the French Foreign Ministry, the French Crisis and Support Center.  The French government re-affirmed President Macron’s commitment to assisting the Yazidi community in Iraq. Our discussions prioritized security and de-mining in the Sinjar region which is essential to allowing my community to return to their homes. 

I am disappointed to learn that the French government’s de-mining partner, The Mines Advisory Group (MAG), and other NGOs committed to rebuilding Sinjar are still waiting to receive specific permits from the Iraqi government to begin their work. I urgently request the government of Baghdad to expedite the registration process for MAG and other NGO’s.


Nadia Murad Basee
UNODC Goodwill Ambassador
Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking

Iraq Army in Sinjar

We are encouraged that the Iraq Army has moved into Sinjar to improve security on the ground. We are hopeful the Iraqi Army will replace the militias as the main security force . We encourage the Iraq government to include Yazidis as part of the Iraq army in these efforts. 

Nadia Murad Basee
UNODC Goodwill Ambassador
Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking

Afrin conflict foreshadows "ethnic cleansing" and genocide.

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. People’s 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.