Richard Jephcote


“Captives on the frontlines: Yezidi child soldiers who survived ISIS”, explores the friendship between Vian and Barzan, two young men who were abducted as boys by IS in 2014, indoctrinated into the armed group, and forced to fight. Both escaped and are now living in northern Iraq, where the documentary was filmed last year. “This film captures the challenges still faced by Yezidi former child soldiers, and also the friendships that have flourished in the most difficult of circumstances,” said Nicolette Waldman, Researcher on Children and Armed Conflict on Amnesty International’s Crisis Response team. Former child soldiers are routinely stigmatized, which means their harrowing experiences are frequently kept in the shadows. By bravely sharing their own stories so openly, Vian and Barzan have helped shine a light on the struggles that remain for Yezidi former child soldiers today. Many of these young men, having endured unimaginable trauma, continue to have serious physical and mental health conditions. To date, many Yezidi survivors have still not received adequate support for their physical health, mental health or education. Indeed, many have not received support of any kind since they returned to their communities. The Iraqi authorities, their international partners, and the United Nations must ensure that Yezidi former child soldiers have full access to the reparations and assistance to which they are entitled under Iraq’s Yazidi Survivors Law (2021). They must also work together to establish a National Action Plan mandating that all current and former child soldiers in Iraq, including Yezidi boys and young men, are reintegrated into society and provided with coordinated, specialized and long-term support.” The documentary was made in collaboration with award-winning documentary production company Fat Rat Films ahead of the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers tomorrow (Saturday 12 February 2022).

Directed by Gemma Atkinson

Produced by Jodie Taylor

Filmed by Ayar Mohammed

Fixer Sangar Khaleel

Edited by Andy Worboys

Graded by Richard Jephcote

Soundmixed by Jamie Perera

Executive Producers; Conor Fortune, Nicolette Waldman and Matthew Wells

This film would not have been possible without the contribution of Vian Saeed & Barzan Naif

Ayar Mohammed
Richard Jephcote

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