Former first minister to join North Connel mum on Iraq mission

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Fiona Bennett and Brendan O’Hara MP with some of the Yazidi women in traditional dress at the London ceremony in December.

Great Scot nominee Fiona Bennett from North Connel has invited former First minister Jack McConnel to join her on fact finding mission to Iraq visiting Yazidi refugees.

The mum-of-two was shortlisted for the 2018 awards after raising thousands to get £300,000 worth of medical supplies shipped over to help the Yazidi people attacked by the Islamic State terror group  in 2014, hopes to to to Iraq in 2019.

Mrs Bennett spent two hours at Westminster talking to the  Labour life peer in the House of Lords before attending a special celebration marking Nadia Murad’s Nobel Peace prize.

Last year Mrs Bennett, a human resource manager working in Oban, arranged for the campaigner against rape in warfare and ISIS sex slave survivor  to come to the UK for the first time. Alongside Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara, Mrs Bennett arranged several meetings for Ms Murad in Westminster and stayed in touch.

Mr O’Hara has now announced an All Party Parliamentary Group for Yazidis to help represent them in Westminster. The MP is its chairman.

‘It’s amazing, absolutely brilliant that this group has been set up. I hope the UK will bring more Yazidi refugees in. I know of a number of families who are facing deportation at the moment. The thought of them being sent back to Iraq is horrifying for them,’ said Mrs Bennett.

Ms Murad was due to speak at the event on Skype but connections failed however the event did hear from Farida Abbas, another human rights activist and survivor of the Yazidi Genocide.

A minute of silence remembering victims of ISIS and terrorism around the world opened the event which heard from Karim Khan QC, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and special adviser and head of a special team looking into ISIS crimes.

Mrs Bennett, a former psychiatric nurse, continues to work with Yazda, a global Yazidi organisation that works to bring justice, sustenance, healing and restoration to Yazidis.

‘Before the event I met with Jack McConnel in the House of Lords for about two hours. He has been to Iraq and is interested in the Yazidis. We were talking about what could be done and what he could do. I asked him to come to Iraq with me and he said yes. We will go to a school because he is particularly interested in education, we will visit  refugee camps and also a maternity unit that has been set up. It will happen, some time in the near future.’