The international response to sexual violence in conflict zones is weak, says Amal Clooney – and the facts. In a powerful address to the UN – and with the same might she used to recently criticise Donald Trump “green lighting” autocratic regimes to constrain journalists and encourage violence against them – Clooney urged lawmakers to hold ISIS members accused of sexual crimes accountable.
Speaking at the Security Council meeting at the international organisation’s headquarters in New York, the 41-year-old was representing Yazidi survivors of sexual violence. The minority group of women were enslaved and at the hands of Islamic extremists in the Middle East. Clooney accused the United States and Russia of not holding perpetrators of these crimes to account as had been done at the infamous Nuremberg trials carried out in Germany between 1945 and 1949. In arguing for a special tribunal to be set up to trial the ISIS members involved in such atrocities, Clooney’s address came with great detail.
“I agree that we are facing an epidemic of sexual violence. And I believe that justice is the antidote,” she said. “You owe it to the thousands of women and girls who must watch ISIS members shave their beards and go back to their normal lives while they the victims never can.”
Clooney pointed to her client and friend Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad – a survivor of sexual enslavement by Islamic State jihadists – and her horrific experiences at the hands of 12 ISIS members which included watching her mother and brothers be killed. “Not a single person has been charged for sexual slavery,” said Murad. “We give speeches at the UN but no real measures have been taken (in terms of obtaining justice), and nothing has been done.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen. This is your Nuremberg moment,” said Clooney. “Your chance to stand on the right side of history. You owe it to Nadia.”
The resolution passed. (But it should be noted, this only went through after the Trump administration questioned language which implies support for abortions.)
Nadia’s story, as told by Clooney, is one you wont forget today. Watch the full address here.