Nadia Murad, Angelina Jolie visit Sinjar, commemorate Yazidi Genocide

Nadia Murad, Angelina Jolie visit Sinjar, commemorate Yazidi Genocide
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Murad and Jolie highlighted the needs of genocide survivors during their visit to Kocho village

Yazidi Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad and American actress Angelina Jolie, both UN Goodwill Ambassadors have visited the Yazidi town of Sinjar (Shengal) in Northern Iraq on Wednesday to highlight the needs of the Yazidi Genocide survivors and mark the progress made to redevelop the region.

Herself as a genocide survivor at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS), Nadia Murad said they cannot rest until women, girls and vulnerable communities around the world have gender equality, educational and economic opportunities and the right to make their own decisions.

Following their trip to Kocho village in western Sinjar, Murad has thanked Jolie for joining her and being an advocate for those most vulnerable.

“I’m honored to return to Iraq, this time to support the work of my friend Nadia Murad and other local Yazidis who are rebuilding their lives and communities after enduring horrors,” Jolie said.

Nadia Murad, together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), started a project called "Nadia's Initiative" to commemorate those killed in the genocide in her hometown of Kocho and to rebuild the region.

Jolie and Murad visited the hospital under construction and the village of 'New Kocho’ within the framework of the project. The duo, who went to Shengal from Baghdad by helicopter, left flowers in the area where those killed in the genocide were found in mass graves and were buried again.

Following the attacks on Yazidi homeland Sinjar and its surroundings in August 2014, also known as the Yazidi Genocide, thousands of civilians were killed and thousands of women and children were enslaved by the ISIS.

According to the findings of the Yazidi Rescue Office, 1,293 Yazidis were subjected to genocide.

In May 2021, a United Nations team investigating ISIS attacks has found “clear and convincing evidence that the crimes against the Yazidi people clearly constituted genocide."

While 6,554 Yazidi Kurds, (3,548 women and 2,869 men) were kidnapped by the ISIS, the number of kidnapped Yazidis who could not be rescued was recorded 2,717, the office said.

According to the official data, 360,000 of the 550,000 Yazidis living in the region were displaced, following the attacks.

Eighty-two mass graves of Yazidi Kurds were discovered, and 68 Yazidi shrines were blown up, the Yazidi Rescue Office said.