Recognising Genocide: The Atrocities of Daesh Against Yazidi Women

The torrent of human rights violations that characterises Daesh is due to be formally recognised by the international courts.

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney is working to represent numerous women who have escaped sexual slavery, rape and murder by ISIS militants in Iraq, after recently returning from Greece to investigate the cases of individuals.

Amal Clooney’s fight is a crucial one. She is determined to make sure that the despicable acts enforced by Daesh are defined as genocide and prosecuted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. She said: “We know that systematic rapes have taken place and that they are still taking place. And yet no one is being held to account.”

The London-based lawyer currently represents Nadia Murad, the Nobel Peace Prize nominee who was held in captivity and repeatedly abused by ISIS militants. Nadia presented a powerful plea in front of the United Nations earlier this year, describing what she went through: "They were committing all kinds; murder, rape and displacing people by force in the name of Islam. Many people may think my story is difficult, but many more had more difficult than mine.”

Last week, lawyer and humanitarian Jacqueline Isaac drew attention to the way Daesh fighters savagely abuse the Yazidis they capture. After meeting victims in Sinjar in Iraq, she said that several girls described how the fighters would abuse them. “You are going to be Muslim regardless because we are going to sleep with you,” she reported. “And the moment we do that, once we rape you, you will be Muslim.”

One of the Yazidi victims, Nihad, managed to escape. Watch hear her harrowing story below:

Reducing a woman to a mere object in this way is not just inhumane, it goes against Islamic principles and teachings. 

Jacqueline Isaac is also trying to advance a momentous bill to categorise Daesh’s atrocities as genocide. This follows previous UN reports which estimated that 3,500 Yazidi people, mainly women and children, were imprisoned in Iraq.

The unimaginable horror that these women have faced is currently being exposed on the wider international stage. We must remain acute to these horrors, where rape is used as a tool of war and given religious justification. Often these ideologies will seep into recruitment literature online affecting our most vulnerable. This is why we need to be vigilant in our daily lives and make sure our family and friends are protected.