Yazidi activist Lamiya Ajj Bashar at Egypt's World Youth Forum - Screenshot from live stream
CAIRO – 6 November 2017: Lamiya Aji Bashar, who was held captive by the Islamic State, taken as a sex slave and gang raped, escaped captivity about a year ago and told her story on Sunday at the World Youth Forum (WYF) in Sharm El-Sheikh.
In her speech, she said, “The Yazidis are a peaceful ‘small minority’ that has lived for thousands of years in Iraq. Our relations with our neighbors from all religions were based on love and respect. After Daesh (IS) accessed the region of Sinjar, some clans swore allegiance to it. Daesh blockaded some of the Yazidis on the mount, and captured some of them; women were taken as slaves while men were killed. I was captured with my family then separated from them. They sent me to Syria where there was a big (place) in Raqqa city with thousands of girls like me inside. It was like a market, where each of the IS elements passes and picks a woman.”
She continued; “I stayed for two months in Syria, and tried to escape twice, but they stopped me both times. Every time they stopped me, they sold me. This time they sold me to Mosul. Again, I tried to escape twice from there, but I failed. I saw thousands of girls like me and younger. There, they were raping children, and taking boys to the IS training camps. After a year and eight months, I tried to escape for the fifth time with two of my friends, but a bomb exploded on our way, and I was later taken to be treated in Germany. After finishing treatment, I decided to tell my story and the story of thousands of girls to the world.”
Nineteen-year-old Bashar’s speech in the WYF was met with applause and respect from international attendees and leaders including Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
Bashar belongs to the Yazidi Kurdish religious minority. She was born in 1998 in the village of Kosho near Sinjar town. She was 15 when IS raided her village. She was kidnapped, enslaved and sold by IS elements.
Bashar was obliged to wear a hijab, learn the Quran and was subject to physical abuse, according to Bahraini Al-Wasat. She also relayed that IS used her for sexual pleasure and that she was gang raped, Euro News Arabic reported.
Bashar managed to contact a family member secretly; her family paid money to a smuggler in order to find her a way out of captivity, Al-Wasat reported. In 2016, Bashar managed to escape with two other Yazidi girls, but as they were escaping she was critically injured in a landmine explosion where her two companions were killed. Bashar lost her right eye, and her face was disfigured.
In October 2016, Bashar and Nadia Murad, another Yazidi woman who was also taken as a sex slave by IS elements, were awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought.
The Islamic State (IS) group is a jihadist militant group, found in a number of Arab countries, mainly Iraq and Syria, where it was designated a terrorist organization. IS is known for its brutal actions and militant attacks and has a history of such actions in Iraq, like the Camp Speicher Massacre that took place in 2014, where IS took control over Tikrit and killed up to 1,700 soldiers and trainees in the Speicher air base.
The WYF brings together 3,000 young people, represented by 60 delegations from across the world, in an effort to explore key issues facing young people and determine their role in implementing global development goals and combating terrorism.
Leave a Comment