On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, we will be welcoming the Yazidi New Year “Çarşema Serê Salê”. This is a celebration unique to the Yazidi community, a commemoration of the day in which the God completed the creation of the universe and life and nature began. The New Year marks a symbolic moment as it represents the renewal of nature and hope in the Yazidi faith, where Spring turns Earth into its most lush and vivid state.
On this occasion, Yazda’s leadership, members, and volunteers would like to send their most sincere wishes for peace and protection to everyone in the world, including our Yazidi people.
As we celebrate this holiday, we remember the latest suffering of Yazidis and other communities in Afrin where the community faces unprecedented threats to its very existence. We pray for the safety and protection of all people of Syria, including our Yazidi community.
Today we also remember the over 3,000 Yazidi women and children who are still in ISIS captivity where the most heinous crimes are being committed against them. We remember the thousands of widows and orphans who are facing enormous difficulties on a daily basis after the genocide. We remember over 300,000 Yazidis who continue to suffer in the IDPs camps unable to return home for over three and a half years.
Yazidis have not received justice and members of ISIS have not been held accountable for the genocide they committed. These terrorists still enjoy universal impunity, as there is still no legal mechanism to hold them accountable. We are hopeful that the newly established UN investigative team will conduct substantial work to initiate justice process for the Yazidis and all communities in Iraq.
The situation in Yazidi areas is one of increased instability and threat, especially in Sinjar. Less than 25 percent of its population have returned, and the region suffers political, security, social and economic challenges on a huge scale.
On this occasion, we call to support the following:
1-The rescue of more than 3000 Yazidi women and children held in ISIS captivity, and the provision of more support to ISIS survivors such as resettlement, psychotherapy and humanitarian assistance.
2-The protection Yazidis and other communities of Afrin from the threats of radical groups in the area.
3- Support of the UN investigative mechanism and the beginning of accountability processes for the Yazidi Genocide and crimes committed against all communities in Iraq.
4-Establishing security, humanitarian, social, political, and economical parameters in Sinjar and Nineveh Plain to allow Yazidis and other minorities to return home and ensure long-term peace and prosperity.
For further information please contact Yazda Media Team at:
USA: +1 (832) 298-9584
IRAQ: +964 627 624 434
Europe: +44 (749) 506-2635
Through its mobile clinic in Sinjar, Yazda’s medical team was able to provide free medical care to 3505 patients in January and February. 1958 people were treated in January and 1547 in February, with many suffering from different diseases in remote areas around Mount Sinjar. Thanks to Yazda Medical Team, they were provided with medication and supplies that would be otherwise unavailable. The sheets below detail the medical reports for the last two months.
The Arab League committee announced that supporting Yazidi women and girls will be among the topics discussed in its upcoming meeting. Yazda welcomes this step and considers it to be heading in the right direction. Yazidis, who lived in their homeland alongside Muslims, have been active citizens and maintained a neutral position throughout their history. Despite this, they were subjected to a genocide by ISIS, who unfortunately used a perverted version of Islam to justify their actions.
Protection of the Yazidis, Christians, Sabaeans, Baha’is, and other non-Muslim minorities in the Muslim world is primarily a Muslim responsibility. We hope that Arab and Muslim leaders will prioritize tolerance toward non-Muslims and plan a road map toward creating more accepting societies.
We hope that diversity will be accepted as a source of appreciation, not persecution. In Iraq, more than 3000 Yazidi women and girls remain in captivity. More than 75 % percent of Yazidis in Iraq (320,000 people) continue to suffer in IDP camps, unable to return to their homes. An estimated 60,000 survivors have emigrated to Western countries since 2014, and thousands of orphans and widows have been left unsupported as a result of the genocide.
In Northern Syria, the Yazidi community has suffered greatly. The once-strong community of 90,000 people living in Afrin and Al-Jazeera have left the country, or currently face danger in the frontlines of conflict zones. The future of the Yazidis in the Muslim world will be decided by Muslims’ acceptance for Yazidis and consideration of their faith as one legitimate and equal to their own. Yazidis continue to suffer from a systemic prejudice on the basis that “they are not people of the book” or that their faith is considered untrue. Yazda finds it essential, as emotional support for our community, and a path beyond the denial stage of the Yazidi Genocide, that Arab leaders officially recognize the Yazidi Genocide at one of their upcoming assemblies, and that individual Muslim and Arab countries join other nations and international institutions by recognizing the genocide.
Australia’s House of Representatives urged to adopt Yazidi Justice Motion
Call comes as 7 other parliaments have recognised the Yazidi genocide
For Immediate Release
22 February 2018
Yazda, the Yazidi global NGO, commends the introduction into Australia’s House of Representatives on February 26 of a motion calling on the Australian Government to investigate and prosecute in Australian courts, where possible, the perpetrators of ISIL’s crimes against Yazidis, and offer to support international investigations into the disappearance of Yazidis taken as captives by ISIL. We commend also the Australian Parliament’s condemnation of the ongoing genocide against Yazidis.
In agreeing to this Motion, the House will join the Australian Senate which has already condemned the genocide, as well as ISIL’s war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the Yazidis and other groups including through the use of sexual violence. The parliaments of Armenia, Canada, France, Scotland and the United Kingdom, the European Parliament, the US Congress and House of Representatives, and several UN agencies have also recognised and condemned these crimes.
Recognition by nations around the world of the Yazidi genocide is a crucial step in ensuring accountability and ending the impunity for these international crimes. Australia has already welcomed hundreds of Yazidi families fleeing ISIL and the Motion highlights Australia’s further support to the community’s fight to obtain justice.
Nadia Murad, a genocide survivor and UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, expressed her gratitude to the Australian people and their representatives for their support of the Yazidi community. “Australia has welcomed several hundred Yazidi survivors and their families over the past two years. A recognition in the Parliament of injustice and the need for prosecutions will mean so much to me and all survivors. Acknowledgement of any atrocities of this nature is the first step towards community healing”, Murad said.
Haider Elias, President of Yazda, said: “Yazda Australia and the global Yazidi family welcome the consideration by the Australian House of Representatives of a motion to recognize injustice against Yazidis by ISIL in 2014 and beyond. The young but already strong relationship between the Australian people and Yazidis has been a source of enlightenment for our people in these dark times. We hope that the motion will pass and that the brutal genocide perpetrated against our community will be acknowledged at some level. Yazda therefore calls on the House of Representatives to support the Yazidi community’s campaign for justice, and commends those that brought forward this important step”.
Amal Clooney, legal counsel to Nadia Murad and Yazda, said that she hoped the House would, like the Senate, “recognise the fact that Yazidis have been victims of the worst crimes known to humankind” and that doing so would be “another important step towards accountability. The crimes must first be acknowledged; and then those responsible for them must be brought to justice.” Another important step was taken last September when the UN Security Council passed a resolution to establish an international investigation into these crimes. “We hope that this investigative team will be deployed soon and that Australia will take a leading role in supporting the investigation”, Clooney said.
Note to Editors: The Yazidis are an ethno-religious minority with an over 6,000-year-old culture, and were based mainly in northern parts of Iraq, Syria and Turkey with new communities in Australia, Europe and North America. Yazda is a global Yazidi non-profit organization. Its mission is to support the Yazidi community in the aftermath of the genocide as well as other vulnerable ethno-religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.
ISIL’s genocidal campaign involved the mass execution of Yazidi men and boys, the forced recruitment of child soldiers, the sexual enslavement of Yazidi women and girls – kidnapped and held as sex slaves. Approximately 5,000 Yazidis were massacred, 7,000 abducted and 90% of the Yazidi community displaced. Thousands of women and children were made captives by ISIS and subjected to forced conversion, forced marriage and crimes involving sexual violence; thousands are still unaccounted for. Some 62 Yazidi religious sites have been destroyed, over 45 mass grave and killing sites have been left unprotected and vulnerable to interference, and Yazidi property plundered.
For further information on this media release please contact:
Daphne Haneman, Yazda Australia Director
PH: 0408 786 189
Today Yazda executive director, Murad Ismael participated in high-level meetings at the Iraq Reconstruction Conference in Kuwait City. We are saddened that no Yazidi or minority voices were heard. The situation of the Yazidis and other religious minorities should have been at the heart of these discussions, including the plight of Yazidi women as survivors of an ongoing genocide and sexual enslavement.
We welcome the support of the international community towards Iraq and its various communities and regions as the country attempts to recover from war.
We call on international donors to continue to support Iraq and its people but stress that a full recovery will require addressing the concerns of its most vulnerable communities and regions.
Building a future for Iraq will require equal treatment for all of its citizens, and respect for the nation’s religious and ethnic diversity. Such diversity enrichens Iraqi society, and Iraq needs to place these communities at the heart of future reconstructive processes.
In principle, Yazda agrees that funds and investments should target all sectors of the Iraqi economy. However, we urge the Iraqi government, donors, and investors to consider the level of emotional harm and physical destruction suffered by certain groups and areas and allocate funds proportionally.
Future projects should address communities’ physical needs along with social issues such as accountability, de-radicalization, social cohesion, trust, and the physical and mental health of victims, among other humanitarian aspects of the crises.
Communities such as ours will not return to their homeland unless specific and effective solutions are offered. Trust should be built between the government and its people, and among communities to ensure future coexistence.
We reiterate that accountability and justice must be at the heart of the process and the allocation of funds.
Communities suffering from genocide in Iraq deserve and require a more strategic plan to preserve their culture and identity. Without the commitment of the international community and Iraq itself., these communities will continue to suffer and may be completely annihilated.
Yazda had a positive meeting with the committee of Foreign Affairs at the Dutch Parliament last week.
In a two-day visit organised by our new partner the Free A Girl Organisation, the Yazidi genocide survivor and Yazda board member, Farida Abbas, along with Yazda Deputy Executive Director, Ahmed Khudida Burjus, had a positive meeting with the Committee of Foreign Affairs at the Dutch Parliament to discuss the possibility of the Dutch government recognising the Yazidi genocide and acknowledging ISIS crimes against all communities in Iraq and Syria. The predicament of survivors of ISIS enslavement and their need for treatment outside Iraq, the situation of Yazidis in Syria and the general humanitarian situation in Iraq have also been discussed by the two parties.
During this visit, Yazda also signed a formal partnership agreement with the Free A Girl Organisation to support Yazda’s legal and documentation project. Yazda also met with Stichting Vluchteling and the Dutch National Postcode Lottery to discuss the humanitarian situation and the needs of the community, especially survivors in Sinjar.
Finally, Yazda would like to thank Mrs.Lilianne Ploumen for arranging this event and all members of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Dutch Parliament for giving the opportunity to Ms. Abbas to tell her story and speak about the Yazidi situation. Special thank to our new partner Free A Girl for all the support during the visit to the Netherlands.