Barzani watches as Shia militias liberate Kurdish Yazidi villages

Kurdish Yazidi girl Nadia Murad is at the UN campaigning to build solidarity with victims of violence in Iraq

A statement from Nadia Murad regarding the liberation of Kocho

With tears streaming down my face, I have received the news that my village of Kocho is being liberated by the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Force. The liberation of Kocho is a victory for humanity. It is a victory of good over evil. Nonetheless, this victory is incomplete. The world has left my people to endure an ongoing Genocide.

The Yazidi community have been waiting for three years, while constantly asking the international community to take the Yazidi Genocide seriously and to grant the most basic rights to victims in the aftermath of the Genocide. So little changed in those three years. The Yazidi areas, including Kocho, have remained either under control of the Islamic State or extremely unsafe after liberation. The liberated areas of Sinjar and Nineveh Plain, even two years after liberation, remained a battlefield for political and armed conflict and our people have not been allowed to have their say. Our fear today is that the Yazidi homeland in Sinjar will be divided into three or more regions and the opposing factions will fight for control on our land – not to advance the dignity of our people. To date, the Yazidis have obtained no rights and our demands to liberate our areas, provide international protection, or to attain justice for the crimes committed have not been met.

There have been over 40 mass graves found in Sinjar. I am horrified by the thought of the remains of six of my brothers in those graves, along with 700 other Yazidis who were summarily executed on the 15th of August, 2014.

Despite these deep wounds, I would like to thank everyone who participated in liberation of Kocho and other areas. The liberation of Kocho is a defeat for ISIS and a slap on faces of terrorists. It also assures that humanity will not be defeated by terrorism.

Kocho is now liberated but it is a ghost’s village. While it was under siege for 12 days under the Islamic State in summer 2014, we called for help, but a genocide was committed against us. The men were killed in masses, women were kidnapped and raped, and children were stripped away from their mothers. Kocho is one of the capital crimes of 21st century. It is with this in mind that I ask the liberating and security forces to preserve all findings, so there will be living evidence of the Islamic State crimes forever.

Nadia Murad is a Yazidi Genocide survivor from Kocho.

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