WASHINGTON —U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), along with co-sponsors U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning the ongoing sexual violence against women and children of Yezidi, Christian, Shabak, Turkmen, and other religious communities by ISIS militants. The resolution also urges the prosecution of these perpetrators and those complicit in their crimes. It was passed through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by voice vote Tuesday.
ISIS publicly and systematically targets communities on the basis of their religious identities using a crusade of violence that includes executions, beheadings, arbitrary detainment, forced displacement, torture, enslavement, rape and other sexual violence. Johnson’s resolution condemns these outrages. It calls upon the attorney general to commence the investigation and prosecution of any United States citizen alleged to be a perpetrator of this targeted violence or complicit in these crimes and urges the government of Iraq and other countries to act similarly.
“I am proud to co-sponsor this bi-partisan resolution condemning ISIS’s use of sexual violence as a weapon against thousands of women and girls. While no one under ISIS’s rule has escaped violence, we now know that women and girls from the Yezidi, Shabak, Turkmen and Christian communities have been systematically targeted for sexual slavery, a crime against humanity,” said Murphy. “Too often, rape and sexual violence are ignored as weapons of war, allowing the perpetrators to go free while women often face a shameful stigma after being attacked. We must lead the way in condemning these barbaric acts of violence and ending the impunity for those who carry them out. That’s why we’re calling on governments around the world, including our own law enforcement officials, to prosecute those responsible and take concrete steps to protect vulnerable populations of women and children.”
“I recently had the opportunity to meet a young Yezidi woman who went by the name Bazi,” Johnson said. “She was held by ISIS as a slave for months and was a victim to extreme brutality. She came to the United States to raise awareness of the sexual violence and religious persecution that is ongoing at the hands of ISIS militants. During our meeting we spoke about America’s role in the world helping to prevent these atrocities. Often, if the United States doesn’t help, no one will. That discussion stuck with me. This resolution is a necessary first step in raising awareness and holding these evil perpetrators and accomplices accountable. I am pleased to see it pass through committee today and hope the full Senate moves to consider it quickly.”
A copy of the resolution can be found here.