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Events

Genocide by ISIS: The Plight of Yazidis in Iraq & Syria

9th June 2016 - 4:00 PM

This discussion was co-hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

Ms. Vian Dakhil, the only female Yazidi member of the Iraqi Parliament, has been the leading voice calling attention to the plight of the Yazidis who have been persecuted, pillaged, captured, and raped, by Islamic State militants. Ms. Dahkhil has been particularly active in providing assistance to Yazidi women and children who have fled ISIS-controlled areas.

When ISIS began attacking the Yazidi community in Iraq’s Sinjar Mountains in 2014, Ms. Dakhil brought international attention to the catastrophe through an impassioned parliamentary address, pleading for protection and assistance for a civilian population facing enslavement or execution. President Obama referred to Ms. Dakhil’s speech when discussing his decision to authorize U.S. military airstrikes. A week after her speech, Ms. Dakhil almost died in a helicopter crash on the mountain side during her own mission to rescue stranded Yazidis.

Ms. Dakhil shared her analysis of the situation on the ground and the efforts of men and women to rebuild their communities.

 

Opening remarks:

  • Toby Dershowitz, Vice President, Government Relations and Strategy, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Congressman Joe Pitts, Co-Chair, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

Panelists

  • Ms. Vian Dakhil, Member of Iraqi Parliament
  • Mr. John Hannah, Senior Counselor, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Ms. Katrina Lantos Swett, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice

Download the opening remarks from Congressman Pitts here.