ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad on Friday called on the US-led coalition to defeat the Islamic State and for its local partners to further develop efforts to rescue members of the Yezidi (Ezidi) religious minority who are still held as the group’s captives.
In recent weeks, a number of Ezidis have been rescued by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the Islamic State’s last bastion in the village of Baghouz and were later transported to Syria’s northeast, an area of relative calm in a country that has been wracked by years of war and destruction.
“Thank you SDF for helping rescue these girls,” Murad tweeted and also called for the "establishment of a task force to rescue Yazidi captives who continue to be held by ISIS."
Since their rise to prominence in 2014, the Islamic State has been responsible for the death of an estimated 5,000 Ezidis and the abduction of almost 6,500.
Over 3,000 members of the community remain missing to this day.
“Yazidis are protesting in Sinjar, Baghdad to demand action from the Iraqi gov to help with the rescue of Yazidis that remain in ISIS captivity in Syria. The Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS must have a plan to help rescue Yazidis that are still missing,” Murad tweeted.
She then called for an investigation into the discovery of a mass grave containing the decapitated bodies of dozens of people in Baghouz earlier this week. The victims, most of whom are women, are believed to be Ezidis captured by ISIS during its attack on Sinjar (Shingal) in 2014, but this has not been confirmed.
“In addition, many captives are thought to be in grave danger as Coalition and local forces proceed to liberate the last pockets of territory controlled by ISIS,” she continued.
“We therefore call on the Global Coalition to coordinate with the United Nations and local partners to ensure the prompt and thorough investigation of crimes in Baghouz, and elsewhere across Syria.”
She concluded, “So that ISIS members can be brought to justice at the International Criminal Court or other courts that respect international human rights standards.”
The emergence of the Islamic State and its violent assault on the Ezidi-majority city of Shingal led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of members of its community. Most of them fled to the Kurdistan Region, while others resettled to neighboring countries in the region or Western states.
In October, Murad shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege.
Editing by John J. Catherine