In September last year, International Human Rights Lawyer, Amal Clooney, spoke about her ongoing case against the Islamic State extremist group. Now, Clooney is calling for a new push to encourage members of UN to take action, before it’s too late.
Britain is currently drafting a UN Security Council resolution that will allow a probe to investigate the crimes perpetrated by IS.
IS militants have killed, raped and enslaved thousands of Yazidis since their onslaught began in 2014.
Tortured and made to be victims of unspeakable crimes, the Yazidi people have been demonised for their religious practice, which contains elements of Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism.
According to an ongoing report issued by the UN that looked into the Yazidi Genocide, ISIS is guilty of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes.
“ISIS has sought to erase the Yazidis through killings; sexual slavery, enslavement, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and forcible transfer causing serious bodily and mental harm; the infliction of conditions of life that bring about a slow death; the imposition of measures to prevent Yazidi children from being born, including forced conversion of adults, the separation of Yazidi men and women, and mental trauma; and the transfer of Yazidi children from their own families and placing them with ISIS fighters, thereby cutting them off from beliefs and practices of their own religious community,” according to the report.”
Clooney, who represents victims of IS, spoke at a UN meeting and expressed her frustration at the stagnated response from both the Iraqi government and members of the UN council.
“Justice is what the victims want… but justice will be forever out of reach if we allow the evidence to disappear, if mass graves are not protected, if medical evidence is lost, if witnesses can no longer be traced,” she said.
Clooney continued by stating that whilst the resolution was a step forward, the Iraqi government needs to be cooperative and invite an enquiry from the UN before action can be taken.
One of her clients, Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who was kidnapped by IS in Iraq in 2014, also adressed the council, expressing her own frustration at the lack of initiative by both parties.
“Why is it taking so long? I cannot understand why you are letting ISIS get away with it, or what more you need to hear before you will act.”
Following the hearing, Clooney spoke with reporters, stating that whilst she wants to see a fully cooperative investigation between members of the UN council and the Iraqi government, that precedent allows for alternative avenues to be explored.
Clooney said that the 193-member UN General Assembly could establish a special team put in place to preserve evidence or the case could be referred to the International Criminal Court for sentencing.
“All these options are on the table,” she said.
“They must be seriously considered, because victims like Nadia can’t expect to wait forever.
“We will be seeking help and assistance,” Iraq’s ambassador to the UN, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, told the UN event.
Unfortunately, Amal Clooney’s address to the UN wasn’t met with the inspiring praise and recognition it deserved in the media.
A tweet by TIME is (thankfully) being dragged through the mud for its sexist and dismissive portrayal of the case.
Instead of covering the crimes committed by IS and Amal’s case against them, the prominent magazine chose to focus on her attire and “prominent baby bump” as opposed to important proceedings of her case.
Amal Clooney shows off her baby bump at the United Nations https://t.co/0Vkr8aad1D
— TIME (@TIME) March 10, 2017
The publication, who has since changed their headline after receiving a huge backlash on social media, was unfortunately just one of the major media outlets that chose to disregard the powerful work of Amal Clooney – and women like her – and instead focus on her wardrobe and pregnancy.
She was also fighting for her client, ISIS survivor & Nobel Peace Prize nominee Nadia Murad to urge the UN to take action but sure BABY BUMP https://t.co/Aenjbr0JLJ
— Rowaida Abdelaziz (@Rowaida_Abdel) March 10, 2017
So when will we stop defining women by their choice of clothing and ability to reproduce? We hope that this backlash has made publications reconsider how they frame a subject and a story, and bring more emphasis to such an important issue.