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The courageous story of two girls who escaped sexual enslavement by ISIL


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The courageous story of two girls who escaped sexual enslavement by ISIL

Isabelle Kumar, Euronews
“Targeted by so-called Islamic State for being Yazidi. Sexually abused, raped, gang raped, loved ones murdered…. two young women managed to escape their brutal captors. Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar, now tell their stories around the world in the hope of saving their Yazidi community which ISIL has vowed to destroy. The bravery of Nadia and Lamia has been recognised the world over, they are here with me at the European parliament in Strasbourg to receive the prestigious Sakharov Prize.

“Nadia and Lamiya you have been through so much, how are you fairing?”

Sakharov Prize winner Nadia Murad:
“As one of more than 6,500 Yazidi women and children who has been held captive by ISIL, I am very happy to have been honoured with this prize.

“The goal of ISIL was to silence our voices. The goal of ISIL was to take our honour. ISIL sees us as if we are nothing, just women to be raped, trafficked or sold. Their goal was to erase the existence of Yazidis.”


Biography: Nadia Murad

  • Nadia Murad was born and raised in the village of Kocho, Iraq
  • She was enslaved by ISIL when her village was attacked in August 2014
  • Nadia lost 18 family members
  • She is now a UN Goodwill Ambassador and Sakharov Prize laureate
  • Nadia has found safe haven in Germany

Isabelle Kumar, Euronews
And Lamia how does it feel for you to be receiving this prize?

Sakharov Prize winner Lamiya Aji Bashar:
As a Yazidi girl and as one of those who was raped by ISIL, I am very happy with this prize. It is a great honour for me to receive this prize in the name of those who were kidnapped and defeated by ISIL, the thousands of the women who are raped by ISIL, and I am one of them.


Biography: Lamiya Aji Bashar

  • Lamiya was 16 when she was snatched by ISIL from Kocho, Iraq
  • She was held for 20 months by ISIL
  • Trying to escape she stepped on a landmine
  • Like Nadia, Lamiya has foudn safe haven in Germany

Isabelle Kumar, Euronews
“And you are here telling your story again and again, a very harrowing story, what do you really want the world to do?”

Nadia Murad:
“We want from the world to stop this, to punish those trying to exterminate us, to punish these criminals in the International Criminal Court. Our goal is to protect women and children, to protect the minorities, to protect the little communities such as the Yazidi community, but also Christians in Iraq and Syria.”


Isabelle Kumar, Euronews
“If we are t to understand more fully the work, the very brave work, you are doing today, I think it is very important to understand your stories, what happened to you when you were in captivity, I know it must be very difficult, Lamiya could you tell us a little bit about your time because you were held for nearly 2 years by so-called Islamic State (ISIL)?”

Lamiya Aji Bashar:
“I stayed with ISIL one year and eight months. We were there to be raped and sold. They changed women when they wanted. The did whatever they liked to us, they took children from their mothers and they took girls to sell them in the markets. They trained women and children how to use weapons.”


Isabelle Kumar, Euronews
“How old were the girls you were with?”

Lamiya Aji Bashar:
“Some of the girls were as young as eight but there were even women with us who had four children – and we were all slaves.”

Isabelle Kumar, Euronews
“Nadia you were also held, what did these men do to you?”

Nadia Murad:
“Survivors like me and Lamia tell the stories of thousands girls like us in Iraq and Syria who live with torture and ongoing tragedy. Despite this, not even one child has been saved. The people who escape have to find their way out, even though they don’t know where to go. But still they prefer to escape like the two young girls who were with Lamiya. They eventually died, but they prefered to take the risk rather than to stay with ISIL.”

Isabelle Kumar, Euronews
“You tried to escape, what happened when you tried to escape ISIL, your first attempt didn’t work what happened?”

Nadia Murad:
“To escape from ISIL is a very hard thing for Yazidi girls, because ISIL controls the whole region.

“So every time girls try to escape they flee to local houses, then these people take them back to ISIL. So we could not see an end to this. Though I knew that I couldn’t escape I decided it was better to die than stay with them. The first time I tried to escape they raped me because I tried to flee, they did not kill me, they raped me but I did not despair, I tried again and I managed to free myself.”


Isabelle Kumar, Euronews
“Lamiya, did ISIL show any mercy about what they did to you?”

Lamiya Aji Bashar:
“No, when I was with them I never met one good person in ISIL.”

Isabelle Kumar, Euronews
“Lamiya, you are receiving medical treatment, you stepped on a landmine as you tried to escape, how is your health?”

Lamiya Aji Bashar:
“I’m still going to the doctor regularly, because my eye hasn’t healed yet, or my face. My entire face is injured, it has not healed yet.”

Isabelle Kumar, Euronews
“One of your aims is that this group is defeated – very few people have had experience of ISIL like you have, how does ISIL function?”


Nadia Murad:
“The members of ISIL say that are applying the laws of Sharia.

ISIL is not one or two people or even 1,000 people. It has a lot of support and a lot of weapons, oil, money, they have everything they need. Up until now we’ve never heard ISIL being in need of food, clothes, or weapons. After more than two years of war against ISIL in Syria and in Iraq ISIL is not running out of weapons, money or clothes so they really have huge support, whether from some countries or some organisations.”

Isabelle Kumar, Euronews
“Lamiya in your time in captivity, what did you see about the workings of this group?”

Lamiya Aji Bashar:
“I was taken to Mosul for five months with ISIL where I was made to work on making car bombs, suicide belts and explosives.”

Isabelle Kumar, Euronews
“Finally you two are both so young Lamiya, you are still a teenager, what are your hopes, for new lives, what do you wish for?”

Lamiya Aji Bashar:
“My future, I just want to live like any girl my age, I want to go to school, and to learn languages. The most important thing for me is to be with my family again and for all the other kidnapped girls to be with their families.”

Isabelle Kumar, Euronews
“Nadia, finally what you hope for the future?”

Nadia Murad:
“My dream is for the small communities like Yazidis and Christians — the minorities in Iraq Syria and in the region —be protected and not disappear. ISIL’s goal is to eradicate those few small communities. My objective is to prevent that from happening, and to keep human beings alive whatever their colour, their religion, or their nationality. People have to respect them as they are.”


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