UN-invited Kurdish artist denied US visa

Seivan M. Salim, whose collection of photographs of female Yezidi victims of sexual slavery is currently on display in the United Nations, New York, was unable to attend the exhibition after US President Donald Trump's immigration ban.

NEW YORK, United States (Kurdistan24) – The Office of the Special Representative at the United Nations, New York City invited a Kurdish artist to attend her photo exhibition, but the US’ immigration ban on Muslim-majority countries prevented her from going. 

The work of six artists from various countries was presented at a month-long exhibition called “Rape in Conflict” which was launched on Jan. 30 and will continue through Feb. 28.

Among the exhibitors is Kurdish photojournalist Seivan M. Salim.

Her collection of photographs of female Yezidi (Ezidi) victims of sexual slavery had been presented in numerous publications including National GeographicLe MondeThe GuardianAssociated PressDaily BeastSunday Times, and others.

Her work was also exhibited in Geneva, New York, London, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Tehran, Rasht, and at the Shanidar Arts Expo in Erbil, Kurdistan Region.

Kurdish photojournalist Seivan M. Salim. (Photo: Facebook)
Kurdish photojournalist Seivan M. Salim. (Photo: Facebook)

Salim told Kurdistan24 she had plans to attend the UN’s New York exhibition this month. 

However, due to the recent decree by US President Donald Trump, she was unable to travel to New York.

The Islamic State (IS) overran the Ezidi-populated town of Shingal in August 2014, killing and enslaving vast numbers of the religious minority.

Thousands of Ezidi women captured by the insurgent group were bought and sold in markets under the control of IS as sex slaves.

Kurds have been the most reliable ground troops fighting terrorism, often praised by the US and the rest of the world for their courage and determination battling IS extremists.

Unfortunately, they are now considered part of the immigration ban ordered by the new American President.

On Jan. 27, President Trump signed an executive order barring people of seven countries from traveling to the US for a minimum of 90 days.

Three of those countries are considered sponsors of terrorism (Iran, Sudan, and Syria), and three are designated countries of concern (Libya, Somalia, and Yemen).

“I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US,” Trump said during a press conference.

“We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people,” he added.

The 19 hijackers implicated in the Sep. 11, 2001, terrorist attack came from Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

None of those countries are subject to what Trump described as “new vetting measures,” the New York Times reported.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany