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Yazidi Woman who Suffered 10 months as Sex Slave under Islamic State (ISIS) comes to Washington for Help
– by Rikar Hussein
May 29, 2017:
A Yazidi woman who suffered for 10 months as a sex slave under the Islamic State group (IS) came to Washington to push for help for the traumatized, displaced Yazidi community in northern Iraq and the hundreds of others who remain in IS bondage.
Shireen Jardo, 25, met with several U.S. congressmen and federal officials along with Iraqi aid groups and media.
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“I told them to rescue our people and our land from IS,” Jardo said in an interview with VOA on Friday. “I asked them: ‘How much longer should we wait until we hear a word on our people who are still under IS?'”
At least 9,900 of Iraq’s Yazidis were killed or kidnapped in an IS massacre in 2014, according to international organizations. While many Yazidis such as Jardo escaped, either through smuggling or ransom, rights organizations say about 2,500 Yazidis, mostly women and children, remain under IS captivity in Syria and Iraq. IS regards Yazidis as devil worshippers who have to convert to Islam or die.
Yazidi organizers say Jardo’s plight is emblematic of the broader suffering Yazidis have endured.
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“Her story is something everyone should hear,” said Nemam Ghafouri, the founder of Joint Help for Kurdistan-U.S., an American-Kurdish organization that supports displaced Yazidis including Jardo. “She was sold five times, each time for a dollar.”
When IS attacked Sinjar in August 2014, Jardo and 46 members of her family were taken as prisoners.
IS took them to its stronghold in Mosul.
“They separated me from my family and put me in a prison with 13 other young girls and two older women,”Jardo said.
Jardo was later taken with hundreds of women and girls to IS’s defacto capital of Raqqa in Syria where militants started pricing them based on their appearances as a preparation to be sold.
“One day an IS member approached me and told me I looked attractive with my gold tooth,” she said. “I pulled off that tooth right after he left and I was bleeding for hours afterwards.
As IS started taking young Yazidi girls to the marketplaces of Raqqa, Jardo says she used several ways to outsmart IS fighters.
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“I pretended to be completely mute and incapable of moving,” she said. “IS members did not believe me and started torturing me by using electric shocks and beating.”
As she attempted to keep up the ruse, “a group of IS fighters started firing guns around me and threatened to kill me if I did not talk,” Jardo said.
Ultimately, IS fighters were unable to put a high price on her because they believed that she was “a damaged good,” Jardo said.
But IS did not give up finding ways they could profit from her, Jardo said.
IS militants took her to a hospital in Mosul where she received unwanted surgery.
“I then screamed, ‘why do you want to kill me?'” she said, “They did not say a word and put me into sleep.”
When Jardo woke up, she found her stomach riddled with stitches.
“We don’t know why IS cut her stomach open,” said Katrina Kraemer, president of Joint Help for Kurdistan-U.S., who helped her get medical tests in Iraqi Kurdistan. “We can’t find that they removed any organs, so there is no explanation.”
Jardo said she was put into a house with some 300 disabled or sick people. She was later taken by some Mosul residents to a hospital for treatment after developing an infection from the surgery. The residents who helped her contacted smugglers, who took her to a refugee camp in the Iraqi Kurdish region.
There she became a rights advocate for hundreds of displaced Yazidis.
“With her recommendation, aid organizations provided 11 washing machines to women in the camp,” Ghafouri told VOA. “She also inspired Yazidi women to start a sisterhood program to share thoughts and ideas.”
Three of Jardo’s brothers are unaccounted for, she said.
“When Mosul was attacked, we were all thrilled thinking we will finally reunite with our families,” she said. “But Mosul is almost liberated now and we are still waiting for them to return.” (VOA)
High drama was witnessed in Kanpur Dehat for over an hour when a man, upset over his wife's alleged affair with a local man, climbed the tower with his children and threatened to commit suicide. The incident took place on Monday near Gandhi Nagar in Akbarpur, when the man threatened to commit suicide after throwing his kids down from a height of nearly 40-feet. Chaos prevailed around the area and the locals informed the police that rushed to the spot.
After about half-an-hour of convincing, the police managed to bring him and his children down. The man told the police that his wife's affair was going on with his neighbor. He had complained to the police, but no action was taken. Police said that as per the man, his wife had developed an illicit relationship with a man, living nearby their house. "As per the man, in his absence, his neighbor visited his house often. He said that he had reprimanded his neighbor many times, but to no avail," said the police.
The man had complained to the police, but no action was taken. | Pixabay
The man had also lodged a complaint with the police but no action was taken. On the other hand, Akbarpur police said that on the basis of the complaint, action for breach of peace has been taken against the neighbor accused of luring his wife. Circle officer (CO) Akbarpur Arun Kumar said that the police are trying to sort out the issue. "Whatever action is appropriate will be taken," the official added. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, man, wife, alleged, affair, children, India, police, neighbor, complaint, suicide, accuse, drama.)
The US forces continued their bombardment of buildings and institutions in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province, as part of their alleged manhunt of Islamic State (IS) fugitives, state news agency SANA reported. The US forces are shelling buildings and public institutions on Tuesday in the vicinity of the Sina'a prison in the Gweiran neighborhood in Hasakah "on the pretext of hunting down IS militants who fled the prison," said SANA.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry has slammed the US airstrikes as civilian casualties have been reported. | Wikimedia Commons
The shelling came in tandem with waves of raids by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to homes in the surrounding areas, rounding up many civilians and taking them to unknown locations, the state news agency added. On January 20, IS inmates inside the Sina'a prison, which is controlled by the SDF, started a riot that was coordinated with IS militants from outside, who detonated the prison's gates with two booby-trapped vehicles, succeeding to free some prisoners.
The incident triggered clashes between IS and the SDF as well as US airstrikes on the areas, where the IS fugitives could have sought shelter in, Xinhua news agency reported. The clashes and airstrikes are still ongoing as the SDF has so far failed to contain the situation and storm the prison. The Syrian Foreign Ministry has slammed the US airstrikes as civilian casualties have been reported. Hasakah province is largely controlled by the US-backed SDF, while certain areas, particularly in the city of Qamishli, are still under the control of the Syrian government. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: US forces, shelling, bombarding, syria, islamic state, civilian casualties, qamishli, tandem, syrian democratic forces)
The circulating avian influenza outbreaks, including in India, do not seem to pose the 'high' risk but surveillance and biosecurity measures are necessary to reduce spillover risk between poultry and wild birds, a UN-backed scientific task force said. Throughout the past autumn and current winter in the northern hemisphere, multiple avian influenza outbreaks, caused predominantly by the H5N1 HPAI virus, plus other subtypes, including H5N8, have occurred in India, the UK, the Netherlands and Israel with the ever recorded mortality of the Svalbard barnacle geese in Solway Coast.
The Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds, co-convened by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), on Monday recommended that surveillance and biosecurity measures are reinforced to reduce spillover risk between poultry and wild birds. The Task Force has convened and produced recommendations and guidance for authorities and managers of countries affected or at risk. Wild birds, including globally threatened species, are victims of HPAI viruses causing avian influenza. Affected sites also include areas of international relevance for conservation such as protected wetlands.
More than 2,400 migratory water birds died in the Pong wetlands in Himachal last year because of avian influenza. | Unsplash
It is essential that authorities with responsibility for animal health apply the One Health approach for communicating and addressing avian influenza. That means recognising the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment and acting with a coordinated and unified approach. The Task Force reminds authorities of their international obligations to ensure their response to the pathogenic virus does not include the culling of wild birds, nor actions that would cause damage to natural ecosystems, especially wetlands.
Ruth Cromie, who coordinated the work of the Task Force and the production of the statement, said: "Avian influenza represents a One Health issue threatening health across the board. The highly pathogenic viruses are still relatively new in wild birds and this winter's high levels of mortality remind us of their vulnerability and that working to promote healthy wildlife benefits us all." H5N1 is currently the avian influenza lineage most found in Africa and Eurasia in both poultry and wild birds. The wide range of wild birds affected include wildfowl, waders, gulls, cranes, grebes, herons, pelicans, gamebirds, corvids and raptors (diurnal and nocturnal), in addition to sporadic cases in mammals such as red fox (Vulpes vulpes), Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) and harbor Phoca vitulina and grey seal Halichoerus grypus.
Consider occupational exposure, e.g. those working on poultry culling operations. | Unsplash
In terms of human health, the currently circulating H5N1 HPAI viruses do not seem to pose the same zoonotic risk as the 'original' Asian lineage H5N1 (clade 2.2 and their derivatives plus clade 220.127.116.11b H5N6 viruses currently in China). In general, the risk can be considered low, recognising that some agencies now consider occupational exposure, e.g. those working on poultry culling operations, as low or moderate. In India, several instances of bird flu were reported in 2021. More than 2,400 migratory water birds, and almost half of them being endangered bar-headed goose, died in the Pong wetlands in Himachal Pradesh last year and that avian influenza (H5N1) was the cause.
Besides the bar-headed goose, the other species that died were the shoveler, the river tern, the pochard and the common teal. An 11-year-old boy died at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi last year due to avian influenza, country's first fatality. India reported the first outbreak of avian influenza in 2006. RSPB Scotland is calling for an emergency local moratorium restricting shooting on the Solway for the rest of the wildfowling season. It calls for urgent action to reduce the devastating impacts of avian influenza. New statistics from the most recent counts show that the UK is this winter experiencing the worst outbreak of this deadly disease on record, with migratory geese which 'over winter' on the Solway being the hardest hit.
According to RSPB Scotland, the latest population counts of the Svalbard barnacle goose show a drop in numbers from 43,703 in November last year to 27,133 in this month's count. This represents a decline of 38 per cent in the Svalbard breeding population of this species from winter 2020-21. CMS Executive Secretary Amy Fraenkel said: "Through late 2021 and early 2022 there have been numerous outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1, with severe impacts on migratory birds. "The CMS Secretariat responded by convening the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds together with the FAO. We are pleased to share its advice and key recommendations for countries affected or at risk, and look forward to continuing our collaborative work to minimize risks to humans, poultry and wild populations of migratory birds." (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : avian, influenza, surveillance, United Nation, scientists, breeding, population, birds, affected, countries, poultry, migratory, health, issue, virus, responsibility, international, ecosystem.)