HE Vian Dakhil’s testimony before UN Security Council on the plight of minorities in Iraq
UN Security Council
27 March 2015
Testimony of Vian Dakhil (translated from Arabic)
On behalf of the Yazidis and all oppressed persons in Iraq, allow me to express my deep thanks and gratitude to His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development of France and to the Government and people of France for the humanitarian stance toward our people. We also wish to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Ban Ki-moon for his commendable efforts to achieve peace in the whole world. I stand before the Security Council today, not to speak on behalf of the Yazidi population, which has suffered immeasurably in Iraq at the hands of the worst and most dangerous terrorist organisation in the world, but on behalf of Iraqis of all ethnicities, who have paid a huge price due to the aggression of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). I would also like to convey the greetings and best wishes of the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Mr. Salim Al-Jabouri, who wishes this meeting every success. I also bring greetings from the Government and people of the Kurdish region of Iraq along with their hope for the Council’s support for any resolution that would help the Iraqi people.
The terrorist organization ISIL constitutes a real threat and danger to international peace and security. Today, Iraqis of all backgrounds and ethnicities are on the front line in facing that threat. I am sad to say that minorities in Iraq — Christians, Yazidis, Shabaks and Turkmen, among others — were that organization’s first victims and the groups most gravely affected by their campaign of aggression. They were the ones who directly faced the Iraqi terrorists’ guns. They made tremendous sacrifices as a result of the crimes committed against them — crimes unprecedented in the history of the world — which affected women, children and the elderly, and brought back the age of slavery by capturing Yazidi women and turning them into objects for sale. These are crimes that bring shame to all of humankind and that confront the international community not only with a moral responsibility but also the legal one to help free the Iraqi people in general and specifically Iraq’s minorities from the grip of terrorism.
No people was spared — not the Christians, not the Yazidis, not the Shabaks, not the Kurds, not the Shia. We have all heard about the crime that took place at Camp Speicher, where 1,500 people were killed in one day. That is clear proof that ISIL has neither religion nor humanity and that it does not belong to Islam, which stands above any crime being committed in its name. I would like to present the Council with some statistics to illustrate the suffering of the Yazidis. Until 3 August 2014, and prior to ISIL’s attack on Mount Sinjar, the Yazidis were a peace-loving, primarily agricultural people whose number was approximately 600,000. Today, 420,000 Yazidis are displaced persons living in camps in the Kurdistan region, with another 8,000 confined to camps in Syria and Turkey. Some 5,680 people, including men, women girls, children and the elderly, have been kidnapped. Almost 1,000 children between the ages of 4 and 10 have been taken by force from their families and are being held in ISIL training camps in order to create a new generation of terrorists. Some 3,000 Yazidi girls have been kidnapped and being sold in slave markets inside and outside Iraq after being violated by all means, including physically and psychologically. The price for one Yazidi girl is $18. In what age are we living? More than 2,000 Yazidis were slaughtered in cold blood by ISIL and its terrorist personnel for no other reason than that we are Yazidis and profess a religion different from that professed by ISIL. We are being killed. Our women are being raped. Our girls are being sold. Our children are being abducted and taken to places where we have no idea what will become of them. We are bought and sold like goods in the market for no reason.
It is indeed a special opportunity for me appear before the Security Council — our last resort — and to present both our suffering and our hopes. We have been oppressed because of our religion and our faith, because the Takfiri groups consider us infidels. To summarize, what we seek from the Council, first of all, is to define the Yazidis’ suffering as a genocide and to adopt a resolution in that regard. Our suffering meets all the criteria for the crime of genocide. Secondly, we ask the Council to impose international protection for minorities where they live, especially the Yazidis, who will not otherwise be able to return to their homeland even if it is liberated after what we have suffered at the hands of ISIL and their supporters. Thirdly, we urge the international community to expedite its campaign to eradicate the terrorist ISIL group, in particular from the Government of Mosul, to enable us to free the more than 3,000 kidnapped Yazidi women who continue to suffer physical and psychological torture. Fourthly, we request the Council to support and arm the Iraqi Army, including the Peshmerga and all Iraqi forces that are fighting ISIL on behalf of the entire world. Fifthly, we ask the international community to undertake the reconstruction of the cities that have been destroyed by terrorism and to redress the results of those terrorist attacks on our communities.
View the official UN Security Council record S/PV.7419 here.