“It is a genocide of my people”

The Jesid Nadia Murad in the European Parliament © Patrick Seeger

Yazidi Nadia Murad Tasee Baha, UN Special Envoy for the Survivors of Trafficking in Persons, made an impression in Kiel on Thursday evening. Her account of torture, murder and rape produced horror in the audience.

What Nadia Murad tells, becomes clear only with delay when listening to her. The audience in the Schleswig-Holstein Hall of the Kiel State Parliament waits for the translation on Thursday evening – then comes the horror. Nadia Murad Tasee Baha, a Yazidi from northern Iraq and just 23 years old, reports in an astonishingly calm voice on the fate of two boys from her people: after long imprisonment by the so-called Islamic State (IS) and corresponding brainwashing, they had recently blown themselves up.

Murad survived the ordeal of IS captivity. Today she is a United Nations (UN) special ambassador for the dignity of survivors of human trafficking. She is internationally engaged in countering extremism, advocating for the rights of survivors of sexual violence and calling for international attention to the genocide of the Yazidi community. This was also the case this evening in Kiel. She tells about Hussein, who belongs to the IS. "He has raped more than 200 women" and killed many: "This is a genocide against my people."Yazidis have always been peaceful and friendly, but IS wants to wipe out the religious minority. Their homes and religious sites have been destroyed, and the Yazidis feel "abandoned in large areas".

"Women suffer the most"

Genocide – genocide is the keyword. Under the heading "Genocide by IS terror – What can we do in a time that seems powerless??"The Bishop's Chancellery Schleswig, the Women's Work and the Christian Jensen College Breklum of the Protestant North Church have invited together with the Parliamentary Society. The security measures are immense. After various greetings, the UN Special Envoy may speak. Murad makes an almost impassioned plea to finally create the legal conditions for IS crimes to be legally prosecuted, at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. There is a lot of evidence and people who are ready to testify. A security zone must be created for Yazidis and Christians in the Kurdish regions of northern Iraq. She explicitly praises the fact that Germany has opened its heart to refugees. According to estimates, up to 80.000 Yezidis. Nadia Murad urges German politicians to reconsider decision to suspend family reunification of subsidiary-protected Syrian refugees. "Women suffer the most," she says, saying violence against women and children is pervasive.

Helplessness dominates

A subsequent panel of experts, including Johann Wadephul (CDU), member of the Bundestag, Pastor Cornelia Coenen-Marx, and Silvia Wahling, director of the Human Rights Center in Cottbus, makes it clear that the situation with IS will by no means be resolved quickly. Via 3.000 women are still trapped, they say, around 1.000 children forced to become soldiers. Almost two million people had been forcibly converted, 1.2 million had been murdered. "Helplessly, we watch as the diversity of the Middle East is destroyed," Coenen-Marx said.

CDU politician Wadephul stands rather alone this evening with his admonition that military engagement with IS remains necessary. There is more agreement on the podium that many low-threshold contacts from Germany are important and helpful. Crucial is to give again confidence, it is said. For it organizes for instance the Cottbuser human right center of 9. By 16. April a peace and reconciliation march by the Kurdish areas in the north Iraq. Former Oberkirchenratin Coenen-Marx recalls that it is never in vain to "open your mouth publicly". According to Silvia Wahling of the Cottbus Human Rights Center, the Brandenburg state parliament has passed a Bundesrat initiative for a second special quota of Yazidi refugees. Nadia Murad had come to Baden-Wurttemberg with the help of such a contingent.

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