Image: Nadia Murad Basee, a 21-year-old Iraqi woman of the Yazidi faith, speaks to members of the Security Council during a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz –
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – A young Yazidi woman pleaded on Wednesday for the United Nations Security Council to wipe out Islamic State after describing the torture and rape she suffered at hands of the militants, who abducted her as “war booty” and held her for three months.
“Rape was used to destroy women and girls and to guarantee that these women could never lead a normal life again,” Nadia Murad Basee Taha, 21, told the 15-member council’s first meeting on human trafficking.
“Islamic State has made Yazidi women into flesh to be trafficked in,” she said of the extremist group that has seized swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Taha said she was abducted in August last year from her village in Iraq and taken by bus to a building in the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, where thousands of Yazidi women and children were exchanged by militants as gifts.
A few days after she was taken by a man, she said: “He forced me to get dressed and put my makeup on and then that terrible night, he did it. He forced me to serve as part of his military faction, he humiliated me every day.”
She tried to flee, but was stopped by a guard.
“That night he beat me. He asked me to take my clothes off. He put me in a room with the guards and then they proceeded to commit their crime until I fainted,” she said. “I implore you, get rid of Daesh (Islamic State) completely.”
Taha, who said several of her brothers were killed by Islamic State militants, eventually escaped and is now living in Germany. Visibly emotional after telling her story, the members of the U.N. Security Council applauded her courage.
The United Nations has said that Islamic State may have committed genocide in trying to wipe out the Yazidi minority and has urged the U.N. Security Council to refer the issue to the International Criminal Court for prosecution.
The council said in a statement on Wednesday that it deplored people trafficking by Islamic State and other groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army and Boko Haram. It warned that “certain acts associated with trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict may constitute war crimes.”
Islamic State militants consider the Yazidis to be devil-worshippers. The Yazidi faith has elements of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Islam. Most of the Yazidi population, numbering around half a million, remains displaced in camps inside the autonomous entity in Iraq’s north known as Kurdistan.
Of around 5,000 Yazidi men and women 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, activists say. The rest remain in captivity.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Tom Brown)
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