26th Sep, 2021

City teenager who escaped ISIS to share her story on a global stage

Coventry Editorial 10th Oct, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A COVENTRY teenager who escaped capture from ISIS will address a major global peace forum.

Rozin Khalil Hanjool, who is campaigning to help women and girls captured by ISIS in her homeland Iraq, has been invited to speak at November’s inaugural Rising 15 event in Coventry.

The 17-year-old moved to the city with her family in 2008 when it became too dangerous to stay in Iraq, where her Yazidi community is among the most persecuted minority groups – with thousands of women and children kidnapped and abused by ISIS.

In July this year, the A-Level student at Lyng Hall School launched a petition to rally the UK government to respond to the growing crisis – attracting nearly 200,000 signatures so far.

Rozin has also written to Home Secretary Theresa May MP, Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening MP and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond MP calling for a meeting to prepare an action plan.

She will now recount her story and describe how her activism is providing support for Yadizi women and girl at the upcoming Rising 15 event.

The three-day forum, which has won backing from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and has already attracted a string of high-profile speakers including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and ex-Beirut hostage Terry Waite, aims to become the leading global event of its kind and build Coventry’s reputation as a world symbol for peace and reconciliation.

Saying she is ‘thrilled’ to be asked to speak at Rising 15, Rozin said: “I want to be a voice for these Yazidi women and girls and this is a great opportunity for me to tell an international audience what is really happening.

“My religion is all about peace and peace-making and so to be a part of this event, and for it to be happening in the city that has helped me so much, is amazing.

“What I am trying to achieve is all about bringing some peace and hope back to those women and girls who are being tortured, abused and raped every single day, and are living in desperation.

“When I set up the petition, I didn’t expect to get more than 5,000 signatures and so to be at almost 200,000 means an awful lot and just shows there are people out there who do care.

“The more people that support me, the more I want to make a difference.”

Rising 15, which has been organised by Coventry University, Coventry City Council and Coventry Cathedral, will run from Wednesday, November 11 to Friday, November 13 and coincide with the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Coventry and Armistice Day.

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