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admin / September 1, 2018

Bringing ISIS to Justice for Genocide Crimes against Yazidis 


Uncommon Union has been working to bring justice and accountability to the Yazidi community in the Middle East since 2015.  

In August 2015, our co-founder joined the former prosecutor on the International Criminal Court and a financial entrepreneur traveled to Northern Iraq to support Yazda; a Yazidi-led NGO formed immediately following the Islamic State’s genocidal attack on the Yazidi community of Northern Iraq. The group met with surviving victims in refugee camps, Yazidi religious leaders, and members of the Kurdistan regional government, including the Prime Minister. During this trip, they initiated Yazda’s Genocide Documentation Project to collect evidence of human rights violations committed against the Yazidis.

In September 26th, 2015, the group supported Yazda in bringing a case against ISIS for genocide crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The report detailed atrocities ISIS fighters in northern Iraq have perpetrated since August 2014. To coincide with the submission of the report, they launched a public campaign to lobby heads of state to support the report and recognize the genocide. The ultimate aim of the campaign was to encourage the UN Security Council and state parties of the Rome Statute to refer the case to the ICC. Messaging called on political leadership to bring justice to the Yazidi community.

In November 2015, Nadia Murad with Yazda was invited to speak to the UN Security Council. This historic appearance gained Murad international recognition as a leading spokesperson of the Yazidi community and genocide survivor.

In May 2016, the team asked Amal Clooney to take on the genocide case and provide pro-bono legal services to Nadia Murad and Yazda.  On June 5th, Amal Clooney officially became counsel to Nadia and Yazda to work to bring justice to the Yazidi community for genocide crimes committed by ISIS.

As a result of this advocacy, countries around the world have recognized the genocide and its survivors. In addition, in September 2017 the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 2379, an unprecedented resolution to open an investigation into the war crimes committed by ISIS against the Yazidi people.  

Though this impact of this work has been significant, it is not enough.  Presently, there are over 300,000 internally displaced Yazidis in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Displaced Yazidis mostly live in squalor in IDP camps. Only 70,000 have returned. Unless the Yazidis can return to their ancient homeland and make a life for themselves, ISIS’s program of genocide will succeed.  To address this situation, Nadia’s Initiative was launched as a public foundation in January 2018. Its mission is to advocate for redevelopment and reconstruction of Sinjar so the Yazidi community can one day have the option to return home.

In 2018, Nadia Murad was the co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.

The New York Times: Nobel Peace Prize Winners Demand Global Action on Mass Rape

International Crisis Group: A Way Forward for Sinjar

The Washington Post: Help is on the way, at last, for religious minorities in Iraq

United Nations Website: Secretary-General Appoints Karim Asad Ahmad Khan of United Kingdom to Head Team Investigating Islamic State Actions in Iraq

The New York Times: Outraged by the Attacks on Yazidis? It Is Time to Help.

Reuters: France’s Macron calls on Iraq to dismantle all militias

The Economist: Nadia Murad’s tale of captivity with Islamic State

Council on Foreign Relations: Nadia Murad Basee discussed how sexual violence & human trafficking are used as tactics of terror The Council of Foreign Relations.

UN Web TV: General Assembly President at a Panel discussion with Gloria Steinem and Nadia Murad on her fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

Elysee FR: The President of the France affirmed his support for the Yezidi cause and the courageous struggle led by Nadia Murad.

BBC: Why yesterday’s UN Security Resolution was a landmark decision for the Yazidis 

United Nations Iraque Website: Justice essential to help Iraqi victims of ISIL’s sexual violence rebuild lives – UN report United Nations Iraq

The New York Times: Ms. Murad’s quest poses an acute test for the promise of international justice 

People: Amal Clooney Scores Major Victory in Fight to Hold ISIS Accountable for Genocide 

Reuters: Iraq seeks international help to investigate Islamic State crimes

Global Citizen: Help us Call on the UN Human Rights Commissioner

The New York Times Live: Yazidi woman, enslaved by ISIS, shares her story of survival

CNN: Amal Clooney and her client Nadia Murad tell Fareed about the atrocities ISIS committed against Nadia and her Yazidi community

The Washington Post: Nadia Murad and Amal Clooney appeal to the UN to not let Daesh “get away with genocide.”

Vice: Former ISIS Sex Slave Nadia Murad Tells Her Story of Survival to Gloria Steinem

Fast Company: Fast Company Names Yazda Top 10 Social Good Company

The Economist Magazine: TWO WOMEN, ONE CAUSE

Watch on UN Web TV: Nadia Murad returns to the UN Security Council and delivers a powerful speech during the 7847th meeting on trafficking in persons in conflict situations

Foreign Policy: Nadia Murad named Foreign Policy 2016 Global Thinker

The Independent: Amal Clooney told the UN they did nothing to help Isis sex slaves.

Glamour Magazine: Meet Nadia Murad, the Women of the Year Honoree Standing up to ISIS

The New York Times: Nadia Murad, Yazidi Woman Who Survived ISIS Captivity, Wins Human Rights Prize

Foreign Policy Magazine: Does Winning a Nobel Peace Prize Make a Difference?

NBC: Amal Clooney Takes on ISIS for ‘Clear Case of Genocide’ of Yazidis:

The Independent: Amal Clooney delivers damning speech to the UN over failure to stop Isis ‘genocide’: ‘I am ashamed’

Washington Post: It’s On U Travels to Greece to visit Yazidi Refugee Camps

It’s On U: Sweden Step Up.

Women In The World: Amal Clooney Joins Our Mission To Seek Accountability For Genocide Perpetrated By Isis Against Yazidis

The New York Times: ISIS Committed Genocide Against Yazidis in Syria and Iraq, U.N. Panel Says

Women In The World: Women aim to bring ISIS to justice with their stories of captivity, torture and daring escape

Global Citizen: Nadia Murad hands over the Global Citizen petition to the Iraqi Embassy in London

Reuters: UK parliament condemns Islamic State violence as genocide.

Time Magazine: Nadia Murad: The World’s Most 100 Influential People

Facebook: Our Work Cited In The The New York Times

The New York Times: Yazda Executive Director and correspondent Rukmini Maria Callimachi answer questions on ISIS’ Industry of Rape in the New York Times.

The New York Times: John Kerry Calls ISIS Actions Genocide

Global Citizen: Its On U partners with Global Citizen to Petition Iraq


Rudaw: The Yezidi Malala, Nadia Murad for Nobel Peace Prize.

US News: Clinton says enough evidence exists to call IS persecution of Christians, Yazidis ‘genocide’

The New York Times.: Murad Ismael joins Nadia Murad at the UN Security Council for the first thematic debate on the topic of human trafficking.

Time Magazine: Nadia Murad tells her story to TIME Magazine.

Reuters: Yazidi woman begs U.N. Security Council to wipe out Islamic State

It’s On U: Yazda Submits Report to the ICC

Al Jazeera: Luis Moreno-Ocampo talks to Richelle Carey

The Nation: Persecuted by IS, Yazidis turn to ICC for justice

Vice News: Yazidi Groups Plead With International Criminal Court to Prosecute ‘Genocide’ by Islamic State

UK Yahoo News: Yazidis urge ICC to open probe into IS atrocities

The Globe and Mail: Targeted by Islamic State, Iraq’s Yazidis turn to ICC for justice

The Times of Israel: Yazidis seek ICC probe into IS atrocities

Your Middle East: Yazidis urge ICC to investigate IS atrocities

English Ahram: Yazidis urge ICC to open probe into ISIS atrocities

Euro News: Persecuted by Islamic State, Yazidis turn to ICC for justice

Rudaw: Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s visit to Lalish

Press TV: Yazidis demand ICC to prosecute ISIL terrorists for crimes in Sinjar

English Alarabiya: Former ICC chief prosecutor pushes for Yazidi genocide case

Reuters: Former ICC chief prosecutor pushes for Yazidi genocide case