The international community has abandoned and forgotten survivors from the Yazidi religious minority group in the Middle East, including women and girls who escaped imprisonment and rape by Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) jihadists, according to Amnesty International, a human rights watchdog group.
Lynn Maalouf of Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office told BBC: “The international community must translate its shock and horror at IS crimes and sympathy for Yazidi survivors of horrific sexual violence and other brutality into concrete actions.”
Besides psychological counseling, many victims who survived horrible ordeals were in need of financial assistance, according to Amnesty.
“Amnesty said there was currently no unified system to assess and respond to the needs of survivors of IS captivity, and most rely on community and family networks to access. Current services and assistance for survivors were under-funded and varied in quality, it added,” reports BBC.
The British news outlet acknowledges:
Thousands of members of the religious minority were abducted in Iraq in 2014.
The hundreds who have so far escaped captivity have ended up living in dire conditions with impoverished relatives or at camps, according to Amnesty.
Several have attempted suicide or have sisters or children who took their own lives due to the abuse they endured.
Amnesty said much more needed to be done to ensure they received the necessary care and support they urgently required to rebuild their lives.
United Nations human rights investigators revealed that Yazidi women and girls as young as nine were treated as “spoils of war” and openly sold in slave markers or provided as “gifts.”
“Survivors who escaped told the investigators that they had endured brutal rapes, often on a daily basis,” points out BBC.
Some of the surviving victims residing in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region are suffering from bouts of severe depression, anger, and suicidal thoughts, according to Amnesty International’s researchers.
“Seventh, who was 17 when she was abducted with her mother and four siblings, said she was raped and assaulted repeatedly in captivity, and that her captors also beat her three-month-old baby and periodically starved them,” notes BBC. “She tried to kill herself three times, but other captives stopped her.”
According to Amnesty, Seventh continued to suffer from severe physical and psychological issues for her ordeal and remained concerned about her younger sister, Nermeen, who killed herself after escaping by setting herself on fire.
Under mounting pressure, the Obama administration finally conceded in March that ISIS was committing genocide against ethno-religious minorities in the Middle East, including Yazidis, Christians, and Shiite Turkmen.
Breitbart News spoke to representatives from the religious minorities who welcomed the move.
Khalid Sulaiman Haider, a Yazidi activist originally from the Iraqi border town of Sinjar who now lives in the U.S. because of threats against him, told Breitbart News:
Throughout the history of Middle East there had been military genocide campaigns against the indigenous ones, but it’s never reached to what it’s like today. What happened to the Yezidis, Christians and other minorities in both Iraq and Syria is nothing but the result of gross negligence from some governments in Iraq and other regional governments.
However, members of the ethno-religious minority groups in the Middle East – including Yazidis — told Breitbart News that the Obama administration’s genocide declaration had failed to change much and amounted to all talk and no action.
Yazidis are still suffering, thousands of them remained in ISIS’ captivity, and many religious minorities had been living in worse conditions after the genocide declaration, learned Breitbart News.
Haider told Breitbart News a few months after America’s genocide declaration:
So far everything is nothing but a show, or shall I call it political game that Mr. President Obama has played…Honestly, the religious minorities have been living in far worse conditions since the genocide declaration. Because the Kurds are using the method of slow genocide, by burning trash around the refugees camps, not allowing food, and other necessities to flow to the Sinjar mountain region in northern Iraq, not even a simple NGO. Please be advised that the genocide will happen again if this keeps going the way it is.
Prior to the invasion of Iraq and Syria in 2014 by the Islamic State, also known as IS, most of the world’s Yazidi population called the Sinjar mountain region their home.