The Current

'I wished I was killed': Yazidi ISIS slave shares her harrowing story

A young Yazidi woman's life in Iraq took a horrific turn when her town was taken over by ISIS. She was captured, enslaved, and endured weeks of rape and torture. Now, she is calling on Canada to take in more refugees like her.
Iraqi Yazidi Nadia Murad Basee Taha was abducted from her village in Iraq in Aug. 2014 and held for three months by militants of the Islamic State. She is a candidate for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. (Yorgos Karahalis/AP Photo)
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August marks the second anniversary of a brutal chapter in the ongoing story of ISIS. That month in 2014, fighters with the extremist group carried out a massacre in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq. Thousands were killed, thousands more girls and women were kidnapped as sex slaves, and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee.

He raped me and used me for a couple of days.- Nadia Murad Basee Taha

Most of those affected were Yazidi. Nadia Murad Basee Taha is a young Yazidi woman who now lives in Germany. Her life took a horrific turn in 2014 when ISIS fighters arrived in her village. She shares her story of trauma and escape with The Current's host Laura Lynch.

"We were separated from our families and taken to Mosul. At that moment we knew we were being taken to be used for rape and to be sold."

Iraqi Yazidi Nadia Murad Basee Taha has been calling on Canada to help Yazidis with the immigration and asylum process. She says 'our people have been suffering for the past two years and they must be helped.' (Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press)

Taha explains what she had to endure as a captive of ISIS, "He took me. He raped me and used me for a couple of days. This is what they would do. They would keep the girls for a day or two days a week then they would pass them to a different one."

 I wished they had killed us all.- Nadia   Murad   Basee   Taha

Yazidis are an ethnic minority group in Iraq that practice an ancient religion. They are considered "devil worshippers" by supporters of ISIS and treated like property, exchanged as "gifts."

"I wished I was killed, or starved, or died on the mountain like the other Yazidis instead of being someone with no value to be used by the terrorists whatever way they wished to use us," Taha tells Lynch.

"I wished that when they killed our brothers, our mothers, I wished they had killed us all as well."

The United Nations has called the 2014 massacre a genocide. Taha spoke to the UN Security Council about her horrific time as a slave to ISIS.


 

"After I was freed I thought that the world would bring justice to us. That the world would be fair to us. But nothing has happened. We still have 3,000 people in captivity," Taha tells Lynch.

In Ottawa, advocates and Opposition MPs have asked the Canadian government to allow for the resettlement of five to 10,000 of the most vulnerable Yazidis. On July 19, Taha was in Ottawa and shared her story to a Parliamentary Committee studying how Canada's immigration system deals with particularly vulnerable groups like the Yazidis.

Nadia Murad Basee Taha, a Yazidi, and Human Rights Activist, makes an impassioned presentation to the Federal Immigration Committee asking for canada to start bringing in more Yazidi refugees. 2:27

It's not known how many Yazidi refugees have been resettled in Canada since 2014 because the federal government does not track the race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity of refugees. But Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel claims that only nine cases have been processed.

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this web post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Kristin Nelson.