UN SRSG urges support for tracing and return of Yazidi girls captured by ISIL

 

(New York, 17 September 2015) United Nations SpecialRepresentative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict today met in Germany with two girls from the Yazidi community who had been held bythe Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The girls, aged 15 and 11, were brought to Germany overthe summer in a special programme through which they have received medical andpsychosocial support, and plan to resume their schooling.

ZAINAB BANGURA 2

 

Special Representative Bangura originally met thegirls during her visit to Iraq, Syria and the neighbouring countries in April,looking at how sexual violence is being used as a weapon of war and tactic ofterrorism. She met also with leaders of the Yazidi community who are working totrace women and girls in ISIL captivity and secure their return to families.

“I am so proud of these girls, of their courage andstrength,” the Special Representative said following the reunion. “The changein them from our first meeting in Lalish is remarkable. They are filled withhope for the future again. That is the greatest blow they could have dealt toISIL.”

The Special Representative wanted to see how thegirls are adjusting to their new lives, and is also discussing with Yazidileaders how the United Nations can support their efforts to trace girls held inISIL territory and bring them home.

She added that “it is important that we support suchinitiatives and all efforts to enable women and girls fleeing ISIL to returnhome without stigma and shame.”

The Special Representative also met with Germanofficials and commended them on the assistance being provided: “The leadershipof Germany in this, and in accepting refugees from Syria in general, is anexample of solidarity and humanity that I hope other countries will follow.”

The Office of the Special Representative is developinga multi-sectoral strategy to address conflict-related sexual violence in theMiddle East. A key aspect of the strategy is to ensure that protection andempowerment of women and girls is included as a central consideration in allefforts on preventing (violent) extremism and countering terrorism.

 

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