The Power of the Yazidi Voices

“Survivors are getting stronger – organizing and rebuilding – and they want justice…Those who were supposed to be the weakest became the strongest.” – Platform co-founder Dr. Leyla Ferman on the strength of the Yazidi women

On November 14th, The MATCH International Women’s Fund welcomed our partner, the Platform for Struggle for Women Held in Captivity, to our office for an interview and Q&A with our team.

“We are glad to be in Canada,” said Dr. Ferman. “It’s like being at home.”

The MATCH Fund is proud to support the Platform’s collection of testimonies from over 800 Yazidi women and girls who have arrived in Canada as refugees.

“It is important that we, as women, are telling their stories.” said Dr Ferman. “We want to tell these stories from a local perspective, and have them considered in decision-making processes.”

Platform’s mission is threefold: to highlight the experiences of women survivors of sexual violence and the scale of the crimes committed against the Yazidi people, to bring the perpetrators to justice, possibly through action by the International Criminal Court; and to fight tirelessly on behalf of the Yazidi people still in danger.

Leyla and her courageous colleagues are working at the frontlines of women’s rights, while dealing with the complicated realities of an ongoing genocide.

“After this genocide, these Yazidi women are finally beginning to believe in their communities again, and you have to come together with your own community before you come together with others,” said Dr. Ferman. “For the first time in history, there are Yazidi women organizing themselves in taking part in associations and platforms.”

During their visit, they also met with advisors from the Offices of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for International Development, Global Affairs Canada, as well as officials from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.