Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad, global Yazidi NGO Yazda and their joint legal counsel Amal Clooney call on the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and its local partners to investigate the reported massacre of Yazidi women in Baghouz and to create a task force to rescue those still held in ISIS captivity.
According to Reuters, a mass grave containing the decapitated bodies of dozens of people recently slaughtered by ISIS was discovered by the Coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in the Baghouz area earlier this week. The victims, most of whom are women, are believed to be members of the Yazidi minority captured by ISIS during its attack on Sinjar in August 2014. In addition, many captives are thought to be in grave danger as Coalition and local forces proceed to liberate the last pockets of territory controlled by ISIS.
We are concerned by recent reports that ISIS members held in Syria have been released and that fighters transferred to Iraq have been sentenced to death following rushed trials that exclude victims and do not comply with international fair-trial standards. We therefore call on the Global Coalition to coordinate with the United Nations and local partners to ensure the prompt and thorough investigation of crimes in Baghouz, and elsewhere across Syria, so that ISIS members can be brought to justice at the International Criminal Court or other courts that respect international human rights standards.
In parallel, as Coalition-backed forces oversee the evacuation of civilians from Baghouz, we reiterate the long-standing call by Nadia’s Initiative for the establishment of a task force to rescue Yazidi captives who continue to be held by ISIS. Since 2014, ISIS has been responsible for the death of an estimated 5,000 Yazidis, and the abduction of almost 6,500 Yazidis, over 3,000 of whom remain missing today.