Humanitarians George Clooney and Amal Clooney in August 2017. File photo: Todd Williamson | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Celebrity George Clooney and his wife Amal Clooney have welcomed a Yezidi refugee from Iraq to a house they own in the United States, the actor revealed in a recent interview, as Yezidis in Iraq continue to seek justice and to discover the fates of loved ones killed or captured by ISIS.
"He survived and came to America. He got through all the checks, and once he got through those, it was like, 'Listen, we got your back. You want to get an education? You want to move your life forward? This is something that we can do,' " George Clooney, an American actor and humanitarian, told The Hollywood Reporter in the magazine’s cover story published this week.
George Clooney said the refugee witnessed ISIS militants killing people in Mosul without elaborating when or how he left Iraq.
No personal details were provided about the refugee other than he was living in a house the Clooneys own in the small town of Augusta, Kentucky. He is now a student at the University of Chicago, the magazine reported.
The Clooney Foundation of Justice announced in August they were donating $3.25 million to support a project to help 3,000 Syrian refugees return to school.
Amal Clooney is a barrister by occupation in Britain who specializes in international law and human rights.
The native of Beirut has represented UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad at the United Nations, European Parliament and at testimonies around the world.
Murad, 22 and from the Yezidi village of Kocho, survived ISIS's brutality and has become an outspoken activist for Yezidis and other groups persecuted by the group.
ISIS militants invaded the Yezidi region of Shingal on August 3, 2014, killing hundreds on the spot and taking thousands of others, mainly women and young girls captive.
Yezidi activists are continuing to pursue formal recognitions of "genocide" in capitals across the globe. Murad and others have maintained that not enough is being done locally to bring ISIS suspects to justice, and asked for the international community to get involved.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated in August that 1,600 abducted women and girls and 1,700 men and boys remain unaccounted for. Many mass graves have been discovered since ISIS was routed from the Shingal region in 2015, at least 44 of them within the vicinities of the town.
As areas are liberated from ISIS, people are hopeful that the fates of the missing Yezidis will be revealed. Tal Afar was the last major population center retaken from ISIS in Iraq's northwestern province of Nineveh.
An official working at the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)-funded office in Duhok whose mission is to locate and rescue the Yezidis, told Rudaw on August 27 they had prior information that up to 500 Yezidis were in Tal Afar, many of them women and children.
“We expected that the majority of them would be freed, but so far only seven have been freed,” Amin Khalat said.
As of May, the KRG has paid more than $5 million in ransom to secure the release of 3,004 Yezidi people from ISIS captivity since 2014, according to the Yezidi activist and Iraqi MP Vian Dakhil.
Yezidi activist groups and individuals have also worked to facilitate migration for Yezidi refugees.