By Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP) for Rights, Development and Peace, August 7, 2014.
The news coming from our partners on the ground in Lebanon and Jordan and media outlets in Iraq and Syria is horrifying. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is terrorizing innocent civilians living in areas under their control. Women are their primary target. ISIS’s ethnic cleansing of large swaths of Iraq is quickly reaching genocidal proportions across the region.
ISIS is the enemy of women everywhere. ISIS is the enemy of religious freedom. ISIS is the enemy of human rights. ISIS threatens the security of citizens across the globe.
A staff member of WLP Lebanon/CRTD.A recently fled Arsal, which fell to ISIS control this past weekend. Women are forced to cover from head to toe, and are forbidden to use mobile phones. Music and sports are banned. Those who were unable to leave Arsal wait in fear.
Across ISIS controlled territories in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria residents are told to convert to ISIS’s extremist ideology or be killed. Non-muslims who fled imminent death in Sinjar, Iraq, are dying of thirst hiding on a neighboring mountaintop, the land too dry to bury the children and elderly who have not survived.
WLP calls on the international community, the United Nations, and member-states to take urgent action. There must be international acknowledgement of the tragic reality on the ground and immediate humanitarian assistance to displaced people. Intelligence sources must release the names of the countries and individuals providing funds and military arms to ISIS, and severe sanctions must be immediately applied to all parties.