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U.K. urged to grant asylum to 100 women who escaped ISIS captivity in Iraq

A Yazidi woman taken into slavery by ISIS with her son at a camp for refugees in Iraq. (Tara Todras-Whitehill/The New York Times)

Campaigners are calling on the British government to grant asylum to at least 100 women and girls who escaped after being kidnapped and raped by ISIS militants in northern Iraq. Since 2014, ISIS has abducted thousands of girls from ethnic minority communities in northern Iraq, forcing them into sexual slavery, and though many hundreds have escaped, according to Kurdish authorities, many remain traumatized and face stigma upon returning to their communities.

“There is still that culture that is ingrained in society that says if you have been raped or lost your virginity, you don’t have as much value,” says Jacqueline Isaac, vice-president of humanitarian organization Roads of Success. Isaac works with escapees in refugee camps in northern Iraq, and is calling on Britain and other western countries to offer asylum and psychological support to 100 girls, the majority of whom are Yazidis, ranging in age from nine to their early 20s. Last month, Germany took in at least 1,100 formerly enslaved young women from Northern Iraq as part of a program that offered them specialized psychological support when they arrive.

Isaac gave evidence last year to the US congress on abuses against women in Iraq, leading to the House of Representatives unanimous vote in March designating ISIS atrocities against Yazidis, Christians, and other minority groups as genocide. A spokesman for the Home Office said the British government was “at the forefront” of the humanitarian response to the crisis, but that it was longstanding government policy that asylum seekers cannot apply from outside the U.K.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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