Apr 19, 2021 - World

Senators call on Biden to resettle Yazidi women enslaved by ISIS

A mass funeral for Yazidi victims of the Islamic State. Photo: Zaid Al-Obeidi/AFP via Getty

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) are calling on the Biden administration to help resettle Yazidi women who were the victims of a brutal Islamic State campaign in Iraq from 2014-2017, according to a letter shared with Axios.

The backstory: Thousands of women from the Yazidi religious minority were enslaved by ISIS and raped by their captors, as the senators note in a letter to Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Many were forced into marriages and made to convert to Islam.

  • Many subsequently had children which, because their fathers were both non-Yazidis and often the perpetrators of a genocide against the sect, might not be accepted by the community.

What they’re saying: “After the women were liberated, they learned that their young children were at risk of being killed if they brought them back home to the Yazidi region of Northern Iraq,” Klobuchar and Graham write.

  • “These women then faced the wrenching decision of whether to return home or remain with their children in halfway houses."
  • The senators call on the Biden administration to accept some of the Yazidi women as refugees in the U.S., and to push countries in the region to do the same.

The bottom line: "It is time for the United States to exercise its leadership on behalf of these women and children. We ask that you take action to find them a home," they write.

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