Altair Guimarães

Our Future and Dreams Have Been Taken - Yazidi Slave Survivors

A young Yazidi survivor of slavery has made it her mission to help free the thousands of women and girls that remain captive at the hands of Islamic State militants in northern Iraq.

After being abducted by Islamic State militants from her village in Iraq in August 2014, she was taken to the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, where she and thousands of other Yazidi women and children were exchanged by militants as gifts. She was tortured and repeatedly raped before she escaped three months later. She is now living in Germany.

"I'm in touch with friends - girls who are still in captivity. They are asking for help, to be freed," she said.

Taha has traveled to Egypt, Greece, Kuwait, Norway, the United States, and Britain with her message. She has visited British lawmakers and lawyers to appeal for more help for displaced Yazidis living in refugee camps, and urged them to investigate whether the militant group has committed genocide against the Yazidi people. Taha took her message to the U.N. Security Council in December 2015, and has spoken to successive governments, appealing to the international community to act. 

In the video below, Taha speaks before the U.N. Security Council, where she receives an applause following the emotional delivery of her story and call for help. She has spoken to successive governments, appealing to the international community to act. 

Around 5,000 Yazidi men and women were captured by the militants in the summer of 2014. Some 2,000 have managed to escape or been smuggled out of Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria, activists say.

Islamic State militants consider the Yazidis to be devil-worshippers. The ancient Yazidi faith blends elements of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Islam. Most of the Yazidi population, numbering around half a million, are displaced in camps in Iraq's Kurdistan.

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