Monday December 16, 2019

Former Yazidi Sex Slave and UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad Basee Taha Campaigns Against Human Trafficking

Yazidis are a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. IS considers them devil worshippers

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Nadia Murad Basee Taha, U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, waves while being recognized by the speaker in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Oct. 25, 2016. VOA
London, December 2, 2016: Nadia Murad Basee Taha, U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, waves while being recognised by the speaker in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Oct. 25, 2016

A Yazidi woman imprisoned and raped by Islamic State fighters said she had no idea about the scourge of human trafficking until she found herself enslaved with thousands of other women.

Nadia Murad Basee Taha has become the face of Yazidi women captured in northwestern Iraq in the summer of 2014 and used as sex slaves by the Islamic militants.

Since escaping her captors in November 2014, she has become an advocate for the Yazidis, and for refugee and women’s rights in general, as well as a campaigner against human trafficking.

“Before 2014 we didn’t know there was something called human trafficking,” Murad said Thursday, speaking at Trust Women, an annual women’s rights and trafficking conference hosted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Murad, who is also a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, said she was told she was a “slave captive” after IS fighters rounded up Yazidis in the village of Kocho, near Sinjar in northwest Iraq.

The Yazidis are a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. IS considers them devil worshippers.

Escape to Germany, beyond

Murad, now 23, was held by IS in Mosul but escaped after several months, reaching a refugee camp and eventually making her way to Germany.

She has since traveled to Egypt, Greece, Kuwait, Norway, the United States and Britain to try to raise awareness about the plight of the Yazidis, urging the international community to do more to bring the jihadist militants to justice.

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“The world needs a lot of work to move forward,” she said. “There are millions of people waiting for freedom.”

Nearly 46 million people globally live as slaves — forced to work, sold for sex, trapped in debt bondage or born into servitude — according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index by rights group Walk Free Foundation. (VOA)

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President of Egypt Calls for Collective Action Against Countries Supporting Terrorism

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The president of Egypt Urges world leaders to take decisive action against states supporting terrorism. Pixabay

Egypt’s president Wednesday called for “decisive” and “collective” action against countries supporting “terrorism” in an apparent reference to Turkey and Qatar, who back the Muslim Brotherhood group, which is outlawed in Egypt.

The three countries also support opposing factions in the war-torn Libya.

Addressing a two-day forum on peace in Africa in the southern city of Aswan, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi also said achieving sustainable development in Africa is needed, along with efforts to fight militant groups in Egypt and the Sahel region that stretches across Africa south of the Sahara Desert.

“There should be a decisive response to countries supporting terrorism and a collective response against terrorism, because the terrorist groups will only have the ability to fight if they are provided with financial, military and moral support,” he said.

Abdel Fattah Al Sisi Egypt
The President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. VOA

The gathering in Aswan is attended by the leaders of Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Senegal along with officials from the U.S., Britain and Canada.

The Sahel region is home to al-Qaida and Islamic State group-linked militants. El-Sissi said Egypt could help train forces and provide weapons to countries in the region to fight extremists.

Egypt has for years been battling an Islamic State-led insurgency that intensified after the military overthrew an elected but divisive Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Morsi in 2013 amid mass protests against his brief rule.

Militant-related violence in Egypt has been centered on the Sinai Peninsula, as well as in the country’s vast Western Desert, which has witnessed deadly attacks blamed on militants infiltrating from neighboring Libya.

Since Morsi’s ouster, tensions have grown between Egypt and Turkey and Egypt and Qatar. The political party of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo designated as at terrorist group in 2013.

Upcoming conference

El-Sissi also said a “comprehensive, political solution would be achieved in the coming months” for the conflict in Libya, which descended into chaos after the 2011 civil war that ousted and killed long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi. He did not elaborate.

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This photo provided by the office of Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, dignitaries including Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, gather, for a photo during a two-day forum on peace in Africa in the southern city of Aswan, Egypt. VOA

He said that would put an end to a “terrorist hotbed that pushes militants and weapons to (Libya’s) neighboring countries including Egypt.”

El-Sissi apparently was referring to an international summit in Berlin that aims to reach an agreement on actions needed to end the conflict. The conference had been scheduled for October, but it has apparently been postponed.

After the 2011 civil war, Libya split in two, with a weak U.N.-supported administration in Tripoli overseeing the country’s west and a rival government in the east aligned with the Libyan National Army led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter.

Maritime border agreement 

El-Sissi’s comments came amid heightened tensions with Turkey after a controversial maritime border agreement it signed last month with Libya’s Tripoli-based government.

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Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, which lie between the two geographically, have denounced the deal as being contrary to international law, and Greece expelled the Libyan ambassador last week over the issue.

Hifter has for months been fighting an array of militias allied with the Tripoli authorities to wrestle control of the capital.  He is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia, while the Tripoli-based government receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy. (VOA)