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