Nadia Murad made a painful homecoming last week to the Iraqi village where almost three years ago she was among 7,000 Yazidi women and girls captured by ISIS when the militants stormed Mount Sinjar. About 1,700 men were killed by the extremists in the 2014 atrocity. After being captured by ISIS, Murad was held as a sex slave by the group, and repeatedly raped and tortured by militants. After three months in ISIS captivity, Murad managed to escape and made it to a refugee camp and then ended up in Germany.
Since her escape, Murad, 24, has become an advocate for other Yazidi women and girls who suffered a similar fate as hers. She’s been honored with numerous humanitarian awards and was named by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime as a Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking — the first time a survivor of atrocities has been bestowed with this distinction.
Her village, Kocho, was retaken from ISIS last week, and Murad, surrounded by armed soldiers and news cameras, made her first visit back there since fleeing nearly three years ago. It was an emotional and painful homecoming for Murad, who broke down in tears. She visited her former school, where militants had abducted children. She was joined by her 30-year-old sister, Khayriyah, who was enslaved by ISIS for five months and also managed to escape. Watch video of her return below.
“I am a daughter of this village,” she said. “We hoped that our destiny would be like the men and be killed, but instead Europeans, Saudis and Tunisians and other fighters came and raped us and sold us.” Many on hand to see her were reportedly brought to tears as well.
Murad continued her call for the international community to step up efforts to help the Yazidi people, a religious Christian minority in Iraq. Some 3,000 women and girls are believed to still be in captivity. She’s also called for the massacre of Yazidis to be recognized as a genocide, and is being represented by Amal Clooney in that effort. “The international community has not delivered on its responsibility,” she said. “I tell anyone that you are being unjust for not supporting a minority like the Yazidis.”
Last year, Murad, who now lives in Germany, appeared at the Women in the World London Salon, where she talked with Tina Brown about her remarkable plight. Watch video of that interview below.
Read the full story at Reuters.