October 5, 2018 / 4:44 PM / a month ago

Factbox: Persecution of the Yazidi people

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by Islamic State, won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

Murad was 21 in 2014 when Islamic State militants attacked the village where she had grown up in northern Iraq.

She was taken into captivity by the militants, and sold repeatedly for sex as part of Islamic State’s slave trade before escaping and becoming an advocate for the rights of her community around the world.

Murad is a joint winner of the prize with Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege in recognition of their work to end sexual violence in war.

Here are some facts about the Yazidi people:

- The estimated 550,000-strong Yazidi community are members of a Kurdish religious minority who have lived primarily in Iraq, Turkey and Syria.

- The Yazidi religion is a combination of Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

*The Yazidis say they suffered persecution under Saddam Hussein’s secular rule in Iraq. They were regarded by Islamic State militants and other jihadist groups as devil-worshippers.

- In 2014, more than 3,000 Yazidis were killed and nearly 7,000 Yazidi women and girls were abducted and sexually abused by Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq, in a campaign described by the United Nations as genocide.

- The persecution has forced thousands of Yazidis to seek asylum in Europe, with an estimated 60,000 in Germany.

- Militants have been driven out of the Yazidis’ Sinjar heartland in northern Iraq, but many still live in camps, too afraid to return to their homes, charities say.

- A U.N. investigative team that will collect and preserve evidence of acts by Islamic State in Iraq that may be war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide started work in August, nearly a year after the Security Council created it.

Reporting by Lee Mannion @leemannion Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org

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