Since August 3, 2014, Yazidis continue to endure an ongoing genocide perpetrated by the so-called ‘Islamic State’, which had one target – the total annihilation of Yazidi identity and existence. Since the beginning of this genocide; celebrations and joyful events have been almost entirely absent from our community which remain in mourning. Yazidis have tended to cancel almost all of their traditional social and religious ceremonies.
On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, we will be welcoming the Yazidi new Year “Çaršama Sarî Salî”. This is a unique celebration to the Yezidi community, a commemoration of the day in which the creation of the universe by the angels was completed and life and nature began, and also to mark the beginning of fertility on earth.
Yazidis start their prayers by asking God “Xuda” to bring peace and protection to all nations including Yazidis. Yazda’s staff, members and volunteers would like to send their most sincere wishes for peace and protection to everyone in every corner of the world, including our Yazidi people.
Yazda affirms the fortitude of our people in face of many genocides endured over the years. Yazda calls on our people to continue to observe their religious events to preserve the ethno-religious identity and heritage of one of the most ancient peoples, the Yazidis.
As we celebrate this holiday, we remember the more than 3,000 Yazidi women and children who are still in ISIS captivity where the most heinous crimes are being committed against them. We also remember the thousands of widows and orphans who are facing enormous difficulties on a daily basis after the genocide. The majority of the Yazidi community in Kurdistan Region, Iraq, Syria and Turkey are in a very difficult situation. Most Yazidi areas in Iraq are still either under the control of IS or unsuitable for Yazidis to return to because of insecurity and devastation.
Yazidis have not received justice or had their rights vindicated by means of legal tribunal holding ISIS perpetrators accountable for the genocide. These terrorists still enjoy universal impunity, as there is still no legal mechanism to hold them accountable. Additionally, Yazidis’ needs have not been met by the international community, regional and local governments, including their demand to establish a safe zone under international protection, or the creation of a new administrative area that would guarantee full civic rights for Yazidis and other persecuted religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.
The situation in the Yazidi areas is one of increased instability and threat, especially Sinjar, which have become a battleground for local and regional conflicts between many competing political and military groups. This situation has resulted in creating the greatest danger facing the Yazidi community, which may ultimately be more dangerous than the ongoing genocide itself.
On this occasion, Yazda calls on the international community (the United States, the member states of the European Union, the permanent members of the United Nations and other concerned countries) to:
1- Establish an accountability mechanism to hold ISIS criminals legally accountable for genocide and other crimes against the Yazidi.
2- Establish safe zones or provide international protection for Yazidis and other persecuted religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.
3- Rescue more than 3000 Yazidi women and children from ISIS captivity and provide more support to ISIS survivors such as psychotherapy and humanitarian assistance.
4- Continue to provide Yazidis with opportunities to relocate to safe countries through specific immigration programmes such as the Canadian, German and Australian programmes.
Yazda board of directors
(Attched picture: Yazidi women at Lalish temple making wishes for the Yazidi new year (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)(Credit: AP) ))