Today 2,000 Yazidi women and children are still in captivity, including my sister-in-law, my niece and my nephew. We have more than 85 mass graves in Sinjar right now.
ISIS left behind a community that will not recover without the support of the International community.
Nadia Murad, CIFAL Newcastle, July 31, 2020

The Brett Kavanaugh case shows we still blame women for the sins of men
by Rebecca Solnit, The Guardian, Sept 21, 2018

… I asked David J Morris, the Marine corps veteran and author of The Evil Hours, a powerful book on PTSD, about trauma and memory, and he replied: “Most men have no idea how truly traumatic sexual assault is. The science on the subject is pretty clear: according to the New England Journal of Medicine, rape is about four times more likely to result in diagnosable PTSD than combat. Think about that for a moment – being raped is four times more psychologically disturbing than going off to a war and being shot at and blown up. And because there are currently no enduring cultural narratives that allow women to look upon their survival as somehow heroic or honorable, the potential for enduring damage is even greater. …

July 2, 2018

The Yazidis don’t expect anyone else to rebuild their wrecked homesor fix their ruined roads. What they want is assurance that someone will protect them so that it’s safe to go home. Canada could send 500 of our well-trained soldiers to guard Shingal Mountain. No one is going to attack them. This is peace building writ large.

We can help the Yazidis return home safely
by Sally Armstrong, Globe and Mail, July 2, 2018

Dec 10, 2018

An excerpt from Nadia Murad’s Nobel Lecture:

…After the genocide, we received international and local sympathy, and many countries recognized this genocide, but the genocide did not stop. The threat of annihilation still exists.

The predicament of the Yazidis in the prisons of ISIS has not changed. They have not been able to leave the camps, nothing of what ISIS destroyed has been rebuilt. So far, the perpetrators of the crimes which led to this genocide have not been brought to justice. I do not seek more sympathy; I want to translate those feelings into actions on the ground.

If the international community is serious about providing assistance to the victims of this genocide, and if we want the Yazidis to leave displacement camps and return to their areas, and give them confidence again, the international community should provide them with international protection under United Nations supervision. Without this international protection, there is no guarantee that we will not be subjected to other genocides from other terrorist groups. The international community must be committed to providing asylum and immigration opportunities to those who have become victims of this genocide.

Today is a special day for all Iraqis, not only because I am the first Iraqi to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It is also the day when we celebrate the victory of liberating Iraqi territory from the terrorist organization of ISIS. The Iraqis from the North to the South united their forces and fought a long battle on behalf of the world against this extremist terrorist organization.

This unity gave us strength. We also need to unite our efforts to investigate the crimes of ISIS and prosecute those who welcomed, helped and joined them to control vast areas in Iraq. There should be no place for terrorism and extremist ideas in post-ISIS Iraq; we must join forces in building our country; we must contribute together to achieve security, stability and prosperity for the benefit of all Iraqis. …

Nov 9, 2018

In a recent interview [Nadia Murad] said:
“Rape has been used throughout history as a weapon of war. I never thought I would have something in common with women in Rwanda – before all this, I didn’t know that a country called Rwanda existed – and now I am linked to them in the worst possible way, as a victim of a war crime that is so hard to talk about that no one in the world was prosecuted for committing it until just 16 years before Isis came to Sinjar.”

Nov 5 2018

Survivors of trauma have the resilience to change our society for the better, according to a Kurdish-German psychologist who helps Yazidi survivors of ISIS sexual slavery.

Dr. Jan Kizilhan has visited dozens of refugee camps in Iraq on behalf of the German government, hand-picking the most vulnerable women to be relocated to Europe.

He told The Current’s Anna Maria Tremonti about Randa, an 8-year-old girl whose father and grandfather had been killed by ISIS in front of her. She was then raped by the militants for eight months before escaping captivity.

When he offered to take her to Germany, she asked him if the country had schools. He asked why, “and she said: ‘I want to be one day like you, a doctor, and to help my own people.'”

“Trauma don’t mean they are just sick and have to be in a bed,” Kizilhan told Tremonti. “[It] is also a chance to learn and to … change the society.”

Oct 6, 2018

Nadia Murad, Nobel Prize Winner:
‘Deciding to be honest was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, and also the most important.’

My story, told honestly and matter-of-factly, is the best weapon I have against terrorism, and I plan on using it until those terrorists are put on trial. There is still so much that needs to be done. World leaders and particularly Muslim religious leaders need to stand up and protect the oppressed.

I gave my brief address (at the UN). When I finished telling my story, I continued to talk. I told them I wasn’t raised to give speeches. I told them that every Yazidi wants Isis prosecuted for genocide, and that it was in their power to help protect vulnerable people all over the world. I told them that I wanted to look the men who raped me in the eye and see them brought to justice. More than anything else, I said, I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine.

Oct 5, 2018

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney says the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to her client Nadia Murad “sends a message that survivors of sexual violence must not be ignored, and that their abusers must be held to account.”

Clooney said in a statement after Murad was named co-winner of the prestigious prize Friday that “at a time when so many women’s voices are still silenced, Nadia’s has been heard around the world.”

Sept 28, 2018

“[Adiba’s] way of fighting back is to speak. Survivors have a voice and they have to practice this voice, they have to speak this voice. And the more they speak the more they exercise their freedom, the more that they heal, the more they stand up on their feet.”

Rev.Majed El Shafie, Founder, One Free World International
“Addressing the unique mental health needs of Yazidi girls and women”
Women’s and Children’s Hospital

Quotes from letters to Parliament about providing trauma care for survivors of ISIS:

June 20, 2017

From a letter addressed to Refugees Minister Hussen and Status of Women Minister Monsef:

“We would like to see Canada put in place a special and specific refugee program for Yazidi and other vulnerable women and girls, who are survivors of Daesh enslavement; a program that implements the German model of care.

“We recommend the German model of care because:

– In response to the devastating enslavement suffered by the Yazidi women and girls, Germany has created safe houses where they can stay on a long-term basis, of two to three years, where they can receive treatment for trauma. We would like to see Canada do this also.

– It includes how Yazidi women and girls are selected to be offered asylum and care. In the selection process a qualified trauma expert who understands the plight of the Yazidis interviews women and girls. …

“The German model provides a long-term strategy and, without breaking confidentiality or security arrangements, we’d like to know if Canada’ commitment also provides long-term safe housing and treatment for trauma? And if not, we would like to engage in a dialogue with you as to why not.

“Canada also has an opportunity to create a new economy of caring for female victims of torture that would create jobs for women in Canada. We can draw on the expertise that the women’s movement has gained through forty years of providing care in transition houses, rape crisis centres, through feminist counseling, and battered women’s support services.

Thank you caring about the Yazidi women and girls.

Women Refugees Advocacy Project


March 10, 2017

“Killing Isis on the battlefield is not enough. We must kill the idea behind Isis by exposing the brutality and bringing individual criminals to justice.”

Ms Clooney represents Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman captured by Isis in Iraq in 2014, who has spoken out since her release about being raped, sold as a sex slave, and praying for death while in captivity.

Ms Murad, now a goodwill ambassador for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, told the meeting that victims have patiently waited for over a year for the investigation of Isis to start “to be able to at least bury our dead”.

“Why it is taking so long?” she asked, her voice breaking with emotion. “I cannot understand why you are letting Isis get away with it, or what more you need to hear before you will act. So today, I ask the Iraqi government and the UN to establish an investigation and give all the victims of Isis the justice they deserve.”

She urged all countries “to stand up for justice” and demonstrate “moral leadership” to make sure that Isis is held accountable.

Call to join in the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

The following quotes are from letters calling for comprehensive Yazidi trauma care sent during the 2016 Days of Activism to the writers’ individual Members of Parliament and CC’d to one or all of Canada’s Prime Minister, Ministers, Senators and Members of Parliament.

November 25, 2016

“On October 25th, the Canadian parliament unanimously voted to support Yazidi women and children as refugees. Within the next four months Canada will be receiving some of these women and children.

“When they do arrive in Canada it is essential that that they be offered a safe haven and the financial, psychological and medical support to assist them to overcome the horrific treatment they received at the hands of ISIS. If the Yazidi refugees are to receive the support they will need, additional ongoing resources must be provided at the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government…”

– Mary Scott, past president of Richmond Women’s Resources Centre

November 26, 2016

“I am sure you are aware of the plight of Yazidi women and children, suffering ongoing sexual violence at the hands of ISIS. I call on you, as my MP and a long-time advocate for women and children, as am I, to strongly urge our government to support and welcome these women when they come to Canada for safe haven.

They must receive ongoing financial, medical and psychological support, specific to their unique situation, to recover from their ordeals, and transition to a secure and productive life. This is a crucial human rights issue.

I look forward to your assurance that the Yazidi’s are in good hands in Canada…”

Bonnie Klein, Filmmaker

November 28, 2016

“I feel compelled to write to you today because I am finding myself concerned for their safety, of the women and children in particular, once they arrive. Clearly the Yazidi refugees will need many different kinds of support when they get to Canada. I want you to be aware of what organizations, such as Safeteen, have to offer.

New immigrants may tend to think of Canada as a safe place, and the truth is sexual assault, harassment, bullying and racism are prevalent here, although certainly not to the extent they have endured at the hands of ISIS/ISIL. However, these women and girls will need skills and knowledge to help them navigate this new society.

As you may know, I am the founder of the Safeteen violence prevention programs. Through Safeteen we teach children, youth and adults how to express assertive boundaries, de-escalate threats of violence as well as how to defend themselves when it comes to sexual assault. The Safeteen program has been taught in schools and communities all across Canada for decades; and perhaps most relevant here is that through our extensive international work we have learned that the skills are translatable regardless of language or culture…”

– Anita Roberts, SAFETEEN Founder

December 1, 2016

“When considering the needs of refugees as they arrive here in Canada, please look to the power of the arts to bring people together, to lift their spirits, to heal their spirits. Artists of all kinds – dancers, painters, filmmakers, musicians and artists whose main practice is in community engaged art and those who may also have training in human rights – could contribute to the successful transition of the Yazidi to Canadian society…”

Haruko Okano, Artist

December 2, 2016

“I’m concerned that dedicated resources be put in place to ensure the Yazidi refugees may truly have a chance at recovering a sense of safety and self-confidence. Will the federal government be consulting with other levels of government regarding funding? Consulting, too, with food banks, rape crisis centres and refugee services that are already struggling to keep up with current demand?

Dedicated resources would make all the difference. Can the federal government and its partners deliver this?…”

Leslie Timmins, Poet

December 3, 2016

“As a Métis woman and documentary filmmaker, I am keenly aware of the kinds of discrimination and racism these women could face as they make a new start in this country. My 2006 NFB film Finding Dawn was an early call to action on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada, and I know only too well the kinds of challenges Indigenous and racialized women face in overcoming and healing from violence and abuse. Culturally sensitive and appropriate support is essential, and so I ask you as a Member of Parliament and Leader of the Green Party of Canada to urge all levels of government to allocate adequate resources to ensure that Yazidi women and children receive the special help they need to heal their bodies and spirits and rebuild their lives…”

Christine Welsh, Filmmaker

December 4, 2016

“My decades of study and training as an Iyengar yoga instructor and nutritionist have taught me how deeply trauma sits in the body, not only on an emotional level, but on a physical one as well. Though, in time these women may look healed and whole on the outside, grief and trauma can be locked not only into hearts and minds, but into the muscle and bones for many, many years. This makes it imperative that the crucial support these women and girls receive from the Canadian government be on-going…”

– Dhana Musil, Writer, Yoga Instructor

“If the Yazidi refugees are to receive the support they will need, additional ongoing resources must be provided at all levels of government. Services and systems that provide support to refugees in Canada are already working well beyond their capacities.

I am writing to you as a mother and an activist to ask all levels of government to provide carefully considered support for the Yazidi refugees coming to Canada, and to look to Germany for models of care…”

– Krista Marshall, Women’s Monument Committee

December 6, 2016

“If the Yazidi refugees are to receive the support they will need, additional ongoing resources must be provided at all levels of government, especially federal. Services and systems that provide support to refugees in Canada are already working beyond their capacities.

Victims of violence require trauma counselling, and in this case specifically for sexualized violence, to enable the women and children to recover to their fullest potential…”

Richmond Women’s Resources Centre, Board of Directors

“We are writing to you as feminists and concerned citizens, and asking the government to address the mental health needs for refugees. Given the severe trauma the women and girls have suffered, we are calling for access to counseling services and other appropriate interventions. Any funds provided must be adequate to address the nature of their horrific experiences, now and into the future.

All levels of government need to provide additional resources to care for Yazidi refugees. We urge you to seek new funds, and not redistribute existing resources for refugees and other communities that are struggling to meet the needs of women in crisis.

We envision appropriately funded, culturally sensitive support. We are asking for you to deliver this support to Yazidi women and children…”

– Chris McDowell & Lindsay Setzer

“In Canada it’s proved possible to win (after many years) some serious attention for the plight of Indigenous women and girls. This cannot happen for Yazidi women in their homeland or in the refugee camps where many live. They need a safer place to live. Canada can be that place.

I’d also urge two special foci of attention when Yazidi women and girls arrive in Canada:

  1.  trauma counselling, provided by women. This will be essential, and not only short-term.
  2. housing. It’s alarming that so few government-sponsored Syrian refugees have found adequate housing. Many still live in hotels. This can’t be allowed to happen again.

You and many in your government have a personal history of attending to women’s issues. I hope you will do so again, for this particularly vulnerable group of women and girls…”

Cynthia Flood, Writer