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Campaigners demand action from world leaders to find 3,000 missing Yazidi women and children

MORE than 80 organisations and individuals have launched a campaign calling for world leaders to take “decisive action” to find nearly 3,000 missing Yazidi women and children.

At least 2,763 that were captured by Isis and sold into sexual slavery as they carried out a genocide in the Shengal region of northern Iraq have never been found.

A joint letter to the United Nations General Assembly which opened for its 76th session on Tuesday calls for the international community to take measures  to secure their safe return.

“We have a moral imperative to offer whatever leadership and support we can to end this horrific situation,” the signatories said.

The NGOs and individuals, including Baroness Helena Kennedy and British parliamentarians, said that it is “a travesty that the Yazidi women and children remain missing and their fate unknown” seven years after they were kidnapped.

“Despite findings of genocide and repeated pronouncements expressing concern for Yazidis, the international community has failed to organise any effort to locate these kidnapped individuals,” the letter continued.

As mass graves continue to be discovered, campaigners called on delegates at the UN to work together with governments and other bodies to locate those still alive and provide closure to the families of those murdered, allowing for their loved ones to have a dignified burial.

“Now is the time to put words into action. While Yazidis face many challenges, organising a search for abducted women and children is tangible, workable, achievable and long overdue. 

“We call upon you to demonstrate the moral leadership and courage necessary to push global action in the face of genocide,” the letter concluded.

The Yazidi people were targeted in August 2013 as Isis swept to power across large swathes of Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

They were abandoned by the peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) as Massoud Barzani ordered their retreat as the jihadists advanced on Shengal.

Many fled to Mount Sinjar and were held under siege, short of food, water and basic supplies while thousands were slaughtered or sold into sexual slavery.

It was the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and YPG-YPJ fighters who broke through the Isis lines, creating a corridor which allowed thousands of Yazidis to escape.

Turkey has been accused of hindering efforts for the return of the Yazidi people to their homeland, conducting frequent air raids on the region.

Last month it bombed a busy marketplace in Shengal, killing a Yazidi official who was heading to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi.

Days later it targeted a hospital killing eight people, including four health workers.


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