LONDON (Dispatches) – Nobel Prize-winner and Izadi activist Nadia Murad has warned that wildfires raging in northern Iraq could destroy crucial evidence of genocide committed by Daseh.
Murad, a survivor of sexual slavery, said the fires had burned some of the 79 mass graves in the Sinjar region where victims of Daesh atrocities - possibly including members of her own family - are buried.
The terrorist group rampaged through Sinjar in 2014, slaughtering and kidnapping thousands of people from the Izadi minority, in what the United Nations has called a genocide.
Murad told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that five years on the genocide was continuing because most Izadis were stuck in camps, unable to return to their homeland, and about 3,000 kidnapped women and girls were still in captivity.
UN investigators have begun exhuming the mass graves to gather evidence but Murad said they were not properly protected, and were now at risk from the fires.
"There have been wildfires, including in my hometown Kocho, and some of the mass graves were burned. We don’t know how many,” she said late on Tuesday.
"All these innocent people were killed, and for the past five years we’ve failed to bring justice for them. Now that the mass graves are burned, our fear is that the evidence will disappear.”
Murad is working with human rights lawyer Amal Clooney to bring Daesh ringleaders to trial for crimes committed against the Izadis, whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions.
Daesh, which considers them heretics, killed more than 3,000 Izadis and kidnapped nearly 7,000, selling many into sexual slavery, as it seized swathes of Iraq and Syria.
Murad, who was captured with her sisters, several nieces and friends, was held in Mosul, where she was tortured and raped before managing to escape.
The terrorists also killed many family members including her mother and six brothers.