Nadia Murad, a Yazidi human rights activist and UNODC GoodWill Ambassador, and Yazda President Haider Elias spoke at the annual Stanford Global Studies student dinner on April 17

Nadia Murad, a Yazidi human rights activist and UNODC GoodWill Ambassador, and Yazda President Haider Elias spoke at the annual Stanford Global Studies student dinner on April 17.
As a part of our mission to help the Yazidi victims Nadia Murad and Yazda organization continue to supporting a cause of Yazidi community and bringing their issues to the attention of the international community. We continue to focuses on advocacy and raising awareness of the nearly half million of men, women, and children from this minority.
Speaking to Stanford, Ms. Murad and Elias mentioned that one of their current priorities is to persuade the United States and other world governments to create a protected zone with a peacekeeping force in the area of northern Iraq that the Yazidi people and other minority communities have called home for thousands of years
During the event Ms. Murad explained the Importance of bringing ISIS members to Inter National Criminal Court. If we do not bring ISIS to justice, she said, we legitimize them as a force and as warriors. Bringing the ISIS senior leaders deemed most responsible to be tried at the ICC would feel like justice and we want to see them in the court as criminals. She also mentioned “We want the world to see them talk and confess what they were doing so the entire world can watch and listen to them as criminals, not as warriors”. And we don’t believe defeating ISIS by bombing alone will exterminate them, because the ideology is still there. We have to fight the ideology

URGENT: Yazda sources report airstrikes on Yazidi homeland in Sinjar.

In the early morning hours (around 2am) of today, April 25, 2017, several airstrikes took place in the Yazidi homeland, Sinjar (Shingal). It is believed that Turkish jets are targeting mainly PKK and YBS positions.

Yazda sources on the ground in Sinjar reported that multiple airstrikes took place on Chilmera, Karse valley entrance, Bara, among other locations. Our sources also confirmed flight activities in the region.

Yazda has no further details at this point, however, as the situation develops, we will put forward a more detailed statement about the situation.

As an international Yazidi NGO, Yazda’s main concern is the threat to civilians. More than eight thousand Yazidi families have returned to Sinjar mountain and Sinone Municipality towns and villages. The majority of civilians there live within a few kilometers from militants’ positions. Further, no fully-equipped emergency medical facilities exist in this area to help with any casualties.

 

 

 

 

 

Press Release: On the Occasion of the Yazidi New Year (Çaršama Sarî Salî)

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
18.04.2017

(Attched picture: Yazidi women at Lalish temple making wishes for the Yazidi new year (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)(Credit: AP) ))

Nadia Murad’s full remarks on ISIS accountability before the United Nations

 

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for welcoming me once more among you here at the UN.

 

For over a year and a half now, I have been travelling around the world to give testimony on ISIS’ brutality and the crimes they committed against me personally, and against my people.

 

I am physically and emotionally exhausted. Just like Farida, Lamia, Shireen, and many other Yazidi girls who have decided to speak up about ISIS’ crimes, I have put my life on hold to seek justice, rather than focusing on my own recovery and trying to build a future in my new country, Germany. Our decision to speak up came at a great personal cost.

 

Since I last spoke here at the UN, a few months ago, German authorities decided to implement additional security measures for my safety. While I am deeply grateful to Germany for this decision, it is also a constant reminder that my nightmare with ISIS is far from over, and that ISIS terrorists are still a serious threat to me because of my public role.

 

More importantly, I know that my speaking publicly has put the surviving members of my family at great risk.

 

My sister is law, Jilan, was captured by ISIS just like I was in August 2014. After many failed attempts, she finally managed to escape and return to freedom last December, after almost 30 months in ISIS’ hands. Her husband, my brother, who only escaped the mass execution of all men from my village by sheer coincidence, worked tirelessly to rescue her from captivity. When Jilan returned, she was pale, weak and traumatized by months of torture and abuses. I have been too scared to ask her the details of what happened to her for all this time. And I am haunted every day by the knowledge that thousands of Yazidi women and girls like Jilan remain in ISIS captivity.

 

Among them are two of my sisters-in-law and four of my nephews and nieces, including Nodam who is not even 3 years old. She was only a few months old when ISIS captured her and her mother in August 2014. We haven’t received any news of them since, and it is excruciating to imagine the abuse they are enduring.

 

I worry every day that, because of my decision to speak publicly, I have put in danger all of my relatives, both those in captivity and those who have escaped.

 

I wish I could say this was worth it.

 

My words, tears, and my testimony have not made you act. I wonder whether there is any point in continuing my campaign at all.

 

15 months after I first spoke at the UN Security Council, not a single ISIS militant has been brought to justice for committing genocide against my community or for the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against all sectors of the Iraqi people.

 

In the meantime, ISIS crimes continue unabated. Entire communities are being wiped out from their homeland, including Iraqi Christians, Yazidis, Sabeans, Shabaks, Kakaians and many other minorities that were the very fabric of this region.

 

Only last month, ISIS released a video showing two Yazidi brothers, Assad and Amjad. They were 12-year old schoolboys when ISIS captured them, in August 2014. They were separated from their family and sent to be trained and brainwashed in ISIS’ camps. The video released last month shows them driving explosive-laden vehicles and blowing themselves up in suicide attacks in Mosul.

 

Hundreds of Yazidi families have boys who – like my nephew Malik – are still in captivity, being trained in ISIS’ military camps. Many will be sent on suicide missions, like Amjad and Assad.

 

In the face of this, the Government of Iraq and the international community seem to be paralyzed. I am told that the United Nation is awaiting a formal letter from Iraq before it can start to investigate these crimes. For over two years now, the victims of those crimes have waited patiently for an investigation to begin; for the remains of our loved ones to be examined and buried.

 

I cannot understand what is taking so long. I cannot understand why you are letting ISIS get away with it, or what more you need to hear before you will act. So today I ask the Iraqi government and the UN to establish an investigation and give all victims of ISIS the justice they deserve.

 

Thank you.

Amal Clooney’s remarkable speech before the UN on behalf of victims of Yazidi Genocide

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank the sponsors of this event for inviting me to address you once again at the United Nations. Six months ago, I came here to discuss the need for accountability for crimes committed by ISIS. I spoke to you as the lawyer for a group of victims of ISIS’ crimes, including Nadia Murad, who as a 21-year old girl was enslaved and raped by ISIS militants in Iraq. My message to you was that ISIS is a global threat, which requires a global response. And that the response should not be limited to the battlefield:  the UN should also investigate ISIS’ crimes and make sure that those responsible are brought to justice.

Since my last address I have supported the United Kingdom’s initiative to have the Security Council set up an investigation into ISIS’ crimes in Iraq. This would allow the UN to work alongside Iraqis to collect evidence of crimes on the ground and identify specific individuals who are responsible for them. Over the last few months, I have met with Iraqi, EU and UN officials and members of the Security Council, including the Russian and US Ambassadors, to discuss this initiative. All of them expressed support for the idea of a UN investigation to be established by the Security Council with Iraq’s cooperation.

So the UK took an admirable leadership role, and drafted a short resolution to make this a reality. This draft was presented to Iraq many months ago and Iraq has since repeatedly and publicly expressed its support for the initiative. As recently as October Foreign Minister Jaafari confirmed Iraq’s commitment to quote “a Campaign… led by the UN… [that would] include action to gather and preserve evidence of [ISIS’] crimes”. The Iraqi government is aware that a one-page letter to the Security Council requesting the investigation would be sufficient to trigger a vote on the resolution. But months have passed, deadlines set by the UK have come and gone, and the Iraqi government has declined to send the letter. So there has been no vote, no resolution, no investigation.

The Council could of course act without this letter. It could establish the investigation without Iraq’s consent, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. It could refer the case to the International Criminal Court. The General Assembly could establish an accountability mechanism, as it did for Syria in December. Or the Secretary-General could launch an investigation. But none of this has happened yet. Instead, mass graves in Iraq still lie unprotected and un-exhumed. Witnesses are fleeing. And there is still not one ISIS militant who has faced trial for international crimes anywhere in the world.

So I am speaking to you, the Iraqi government, and to you, UN member states, when I ask: Why? Why has nothing been done?

Could it be that these crimes are not serious enough to warrant an international investigation? NOISIS is today the most brutal terror group in the world, representing what the Security Council has called an “unprecedented threat” to international peace and security. ISIS has carried out or inspired attacks in more than 31 countries that have killed over 2000 people outside Syria and Iraq in the last 3 years alone. Inside Iraq, ISIS has attacked victims from every community including Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims and Christians. And ISIS has made clear that it intends to destroy Yazidis, like Nadia, completely: through killings, forced conversions, and rape. The UN has concluded that ISIS is committing genocide against this group, and there can be no more serious crime. The UN was created as the world’s way of saying ‘never again’ to the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis. And yet here we are, 70 years later, discussing the UN’s inaction in the face of a genocide that we all know about, and that is ongoing.

So is it that the political interests of powerful states stand in the way of accountability? Is that why, over two years after the genocide began, not one ISIS member has been brought to trial for it? NO – this is not it either. As a human rights lawyer I am often told that my cause, while commendable, cannot succeed because of political realities. We have seen the Security Council paralysed over Syria, or the road to the International Criminal Court obstructed when powerful states block Council action. But here, ladies and gentlemen, we are dealing with ISIS. No one claims to respect or protect them. No veto-wielding member of the Council is on their side. And yet we are no closer to justice than when I addressed you last year.

Could it be, then, that crimes of this nature will be too difficult to prove? NO — this is not a reason for inaction either. ISIS is a bureaucracy of evil leaving a trail of evidence behind it that no one is picking up. It has kicked bodies into uncovered mass graves. It set up a ‘Committee for the Buying and Selling of Slaves’ and courts to ‘legalise’ the purchase of women as property. It has kept detailed forms about its recruits, including their name, phone number, address and previous terror experience. ISIS militants have even sent messages to Nadia from their phones, taunting her that they still have her family members in captivity… They don’t bother to hide their phone number when they do so: they know no one is looking for it.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen: what is shocking here is not just the brutality of ISIS but how long those who know about it can remain passive. If we do not change course, history will judge us, and there will be no excuse for our failure to act. We cannot say that ISIS’ crimes were not serious enough; we cannot say that the interests of powerful states stood in the way; or that these crimes are too hard to prove. That’s why I am asking you today: to stand up for justice.

Every conflict reminds us that there can be no lasting peace without justice. A lack of accountability simply leads to continuing cycles of vengeful violence. So killing ISIS on the battlefield is not enough: we must also kill the idea behind ISIS by exposing its brutality and bringing individual criminals to justice. Justice is also what the victims want – ask the families of the American hostages Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff who were beheaded by the ISIS militant known as Jihadi John. When Jihadi John was reportedly killed by a drone strike in Syria, the hostages’ families said they would have preferred it if he had been arrested instead. Steven’s family said they wanted to quote “sit in a courtroom, watch him sentenced and see him sent to … prison”. Yazidi women like Nadia say the same: they want the chance to face their abusers in court; they want legal judgments to be published, to prevent their genocide later being denied. And they deserve nothing less. But justice will forever be out of reach if we allow the evidence to disappear: if mass graves are not protected, if medical evidence is lost, if witnesses can no longer be traced.

Excellencies, it is not too late to turn things around. I believe there is a common will among those in this room, among leaders in Baghdad and capitals around the world that ISIS should be held accountable in a court of law for its crimes. What is needed now is moral leadership to make it happen.

Last week’s US State Department report on Iraq reminds us that the vast majority of serious human rights abuses being committed today in Iraq are committed by ISIS, and that all Iraqis – Sunni, Shia, Christian, Yazidi, and others – are its victims.

So today, I wish to speak directly to Prime Minister Abadi: on behalf of all of ISIS’ victims, I call on you to send the letter to the Security Council requesting an investigation into ISIS crimes. Getting the UN involved was initially Iraq’s idea, and finally taking action to make it a reality would silence those who doubt your commitment to bring Daesh to justice.

And finally, to all UN member states: if this road to accountability through the Security Council is blocked, you must take the initiative to secure accountability in other ways available to you under the UN Charter. Don’t let this be another Rwanda, where you regret doing too little, too late. Don’t let ISIS get away with genocide.

Amal Clooney

March 9th 2017

United Nations

Yazda statement on today’s incident in Khanesor, Sinjar

With great concern, Yazda follows the situation in Shingal (Sinjar) after an armed conflict took place today near the town of Khanesor between the Rojava Peshmerga and YBS group that resulted in causalities among the two groups.
 
According to our sources in Sinjar, the armed conflict resulted in displacement of hundreds of families from Khanesor and nearby areas. Yazda has not been able to confirm whether there were casualties among the Yazidi civilians.
 
The armed conflict also resulted in a psychological shock among the returnees population. We estimate that 40,000 people are currently living in Al-Shingal municipality (Sinone) and Sardashte.
 
Yazda, as a global Yazidi organization defending the rights of Yazidis and their interests, clarifies and states the following:
 
1. We object all armed conflicts in the Yazidi areas between the rival groups and call to immediately halt them, protect civilians and their properties, and restore calm on the ground. We call on all sides to self-control when dealing with the current sensitive events. We maintain equidistance from all rival groups who resisted or fought against the so-called (Daesh), we believe that a unity serves interests all the groups as well as the victims.
 
2. Yazda demand from all parties to ensure safety of all Yazidi civilians and citizens. No conflict should be taking place in areas of population concentrations in the towns and villages. In case of any human loses, the combatting groups shall held the responsibility.
3. Yazda’s position is that Yazidis must have rights to determine their future and type of governance they prefer. Yazda demands that all parties respect the will of Yazidi population in this area and all Yazidi areas. Opinion of Yazidi people must be taken into consideration in all issues related to their future.
 
4. Yazda sees that the solution in Sinjar must be based on a mutual Kurdistanian-Iraqi understanding with mediation from the international community and the UN so that the Yazidis are protected from future genocides.
 
5. Yazda call on all parties to depend on the dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the differences and reaffirm that we are ready to play a role in reconciliation between the Kurdish groups to resolve any outstanding issues to work out a solution for post-ISIS stage.
 
6. Yazda call on all Yazidi sides to abstain themselves from any armed conflicts. We reiterate that the only enemy Yazidi have is the terrorist groups and their supporters who participated in committing the Genocide. Yazda also appeals to the Yazidi groups to play a positive role in the reconciliation between the Kurdish groups and prevent internal conflict.
 
Yazda leadership affirms as a Yazidi organization that we stand to same distance from all parties and that we do not prefer one political side from another, Yazda’s aim is to establish security and peace for the Yazidi after the Genocide and advocate for creating a future so that no future genocide take place.
 
Yazda Board
March 3 2017

Press Release: Arrest Warrant against ISIS militant in Germany recognises crimes committed against Yazidis as genocide

In December 2016, the Supreme Court of Germany authorised the issuance of an arrest warrant against an ISIS commander who is allegedly responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Yazidi minority in Syria and Iraq. The ISIS commander – whose name will not be disclosed for the time being – was identified for prosecution by the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office. He is said to be high-ranking and responsible for the abduction and sexual enslavement of Yazidi women. [wysija_form id=”2″]

In August 2014, ISIS attacked the Sinjar region in Northern Iraq, homeland to the Yazidis, a peaceful minority targeted by ISIS because of their ancient religion. Thousands of men and older women were executed on the spot, while girls were captured to become “sex slaves” and young boys kidnapped and trained to be child soldiers. Over 360,000 Yazidis were displaced in a matter of days.

Over two and a half years later, more than 3,000 Yazidis remain in ISIS captivity. The United Nations has recognised that the crimes committed by ISIS against the Yazidis amount to genocide. But to date, no member of ISIS has been indicted or tried anywhere in the world for these atrocities.

 

This arrest warrant is an opportunity to change that. Amal Clooney, counsel to Yazda, Nadia Murad and other Yazidi ISIS survivors, congratulates the German Federal Prosecutor Christian Ritscher and his team for this achievement. It is hoped that the perpetrator can now be arrested and brought to trial. And that prosecutors in other countries show a similar commitment to holding members of ISIS accountable through their courts, where there is jurisdiction to do so.


 

Yazda Member Farida Abbas visiting Ms. Daniela Schadtthe wife of German President

farida2Farida visit to Germany

Yazidi survivor and Yazda member in Germany Ms Farida Abbas had a great opportunity to meet with Ms Daniela Schadt, wife of former Germany President Joachim Gauck.
Farida was accompanied by Saeed Sulaiman, Yazda member in Germany, Duzen Tekkal, activist and director of Hawar organization. Ms Daniela has listened to Farida Abbas`s story and both sides have discussed the situations of refugees, ISIS survivors, and the situation of Yazidi people in general.
We want to thank Ms Daniela for her time and tremendous support to Farida Abbas

Yazda has been selected as one of the 10 Most Innovative World`s Companies for the Year 2017 by FC.

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We are delighted to announce that Yazda has been selected as one of the 10 Most Innovative World`s Companies for the Year 2017 by FC.
Yazda has been one of the leading organizations that advocates for the Yazidi people in Northern Iraq, in addition to its humanitarian projects that are supporting tens of thousands of Internally Displaced Families in the region. Yazda provides essential services for Yazidi community in the region and acts as a guiding center for tens of other NGOs in Kurdistan region for reaching out to the most vulnerable families who have been victimized by ISIL invasion of their ancestral homeland.
We are grateful to FC for giving value to the relentless effects that Yazda has made during the past two and half years.

Yazda and Nadia visit to Scotland

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On The 31st of January 2017, a delegation from Yazda, including Ahmed Khudida, ( Deputy Executive Director), Fiona Bennett, ( Yazda board member in UK), and Anna Duncan, (Yazda member in Scotland) accompanied Nadia Murad, (Yazidi survivor and UN Goodwill Ambassador) in a one day visit to Scotland. The delegation met with the Prime Minister of Scotland, Mrs Nicola Sturgeon, and had a productive discussion in regard to various aspects including: holding ISIL militants accountable and bringing them to justice, and establishing a safe zone for minorities. They also discussed the current refugee crisis, human trafficking issues and the possibility of recognizing ISIL crimes committed against Yazidis and minorities as genocide by Scottish Parliament and Government. It is a great honor for us to mention that Nadia Murad’s mission is sponsored and supported by Yazda organization and Nadia initiative is running under umbrella of Yazda.

Yazda Press Release: Reopening of Yazda facilities in Kurdistan Region

Following a series of positive meetings with concerned parties within the Kurdistan Regional Government “KRG”, a positive result was reached with regards to reopening Yazda facilities and projects in Kurdistan Region of Iraq “KRI” after resolving issues between the two sides. The closure of Yazda’s facilities and projects was due to a misunderstanding and translation of some of Yazda activities as transgression to KRG laws and regulations relates to NGOs.

Yazda recognizes that the current situation is extremely difficult and many complexities exist, which may result in misunderstanding concerning the work of any organization. We reiterate that Yazda will follow all KRG laws and regulations regarding NGOs as it does in all countries where Yazda operates. Yazda will also continue to work in accordance with the principles on which Yazda was founded. We at Yazda believe in cooperation that is based on mutual respect and dialogue to deal with the genocide that resulted in a catastrophic impact on the Yazidi community. We affirm that Yazda is not a political entity, nor linked to any political entities nor supports any side. Yazda is a neutral, moderate and professional organization formed to support victims of the Yazidi Genocide through advocating for a future with security so that the Genocide is not repeated against Yazidis in the future.

Yazda leadership expresses its gratitude to all parties who contributed in resolving the differences. Yazda highly appreciates our local and international partners, thanks the KRG for their understanding and affirms its commitment to work within the regulations of KRI so that the misunderstanding is not repeated.  We look forward to continuing our humanitarian programmes alongside our advocacy for the Yazidi case and on behalf of the victims of Genocide on both the international and local level.

Yazda Board of Directors

January 18, 2017

Yazda & Nadia Visit To Catalonia (Spain)

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Premi Per la Pau–Museu Marítim

 

United Nations Association of Spain sponsored a visit for The U.N. Good-Will Ambassador Nadia Murad and Yazda President Haider Elias to Catalonia region.
People of Catalonia have proven to be great for the amount of respect and support they provided for our delegate and we forever grateful to this. The first meeting was with the representative of foreign affairs of the Government of Catalonia. Mr. Raul Romeva, another meeting with the City council of Barcelona, with Mr. Joseph Alay the commissioner of the International relations, Department of the City Council in Barcelona. A meeting with the President of the County Cancel of Barcelona Ms. Merce Conesa; Mr. Eduard Sagarra Trias, President of The United Nations Association of Spain, and many other TV and Radio interviews such as a Radio interview by Ms. Monica Terribas. A journalist for Radio Catalonia. Nadia told the audience her story and the story and the Yazidi people post August 2014 and until present. A tour to Barcelona foundation

Yazda Urges Reopening of Yazidi Refugee Aid and Therapy Services in Iraq

US and EU can play a vital role in solving the crisis

Yazda, a global organisation representing the Yazidi community in the Middle East, has called for immediate talks with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, following the withdrawal by the KRG of its license to operate programmes in support of internally displaced persons.

Over the past two years, Yazda has provided support to Yazidi victims of genocide in the aftermath of August 3, 2014 attack by ISIS on the Sinjar region, which displaced hundreds of thousands of people. The license was renewed only last November, and includes a pyscho-social programme supporting Yazidi woman who escaped captivity, a social care programme supporting more than 600 women and children, two medical clinics serving over 250 patients a day, a documentation programme and an outreach programme to support returnees to Sinjar.

KRG security forces suddenly ordered closure of Yazda centers and all its programmes on Monday January 2nd. . Its NGO department said the decision was based on allegations that Yazda has not “abided by the laws”, had practiced “political activities” and that “licenses were expired”. Yazda refutes these allegations and demands that its centers and programs reopen immediately.

Mr Haider Elias, Yazda President said “we are working to open communication channels with international and local sides to seek immediate international mediators to meet the KRG leadership, Minister of Interior and their NGOs department to discuss the crisis. “Yazda would like to find an acceptable legal solution through mutual respect. We believe that the USA and EU can play a vital role in this regard “Yazda is not a political organization, however it advocates for the rights of Yazidis internationally, Yazda was established to prevent future genocides after the vicious assaults committed by ISIS after August 3 2014. Advocating and highlighting this cause in all international norms cannot be translated as “political activities”, we are extremely surprised that our work is now being labeled by KRG in this way. “We request to see and discuss claims of “proof” that Yazda has done political activities and any other alleged evidence of wrong doing. Yazda licenses to work in the KRG are fully up to date, we attach the copy of Yazda formal registration by the KRG, renewed less than two months ago on November 16 last.

“Yazda is also active on the international stage to raise awareness about the Yazidi Genocide, bring perpetrators to justice for Genocide crime and ask the international community to create an UN guaranteed safe-zone to prevent future Genocides. “Yazda supports former ISIS captive, Nadia Murad, UN Goodwill Ambassador and winner of the 2016 Sakharov Prize for the Freedom of Thought and many other women and girls to give their testimonies on physical, psychological and sexual torture.

“Our organisation plays a pivotal role to communicate the situation of the Yazidi people to the world and provide consultation to the world powers on the rights of minorities in the region, our principles will not be altered under pressure. “Yazda therefore requests an immediate investigation on how a legal entity operating within the law has been treated in this way. The KRG authorities should immediately reverse this decision and allow Yazda to resume its humanitarian operations within our community.

“Ejection of Yazda from Kurdistan could only have negative political motivation, It will be not just an insult to the entire Yazidi community but will have massive implications for the rights of all ethno-religious minorities in the region, will fatally undermine the legitimacy and viability of the Kurdistan KRG government and will serve to strengthen of the forces of hatred and terror.

“For these reasons we urgently appeal to the KRG and international mediators to facilitate immediate talks and ensure that validly operating aid programmes are allowed to resume,”

Mr Haider said.

Congratulation to Nadia Murad and Lamia Bashar for being awarded with Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought

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Yazda would like to congratulate the two victims of genocide, Nadia Murad (U.N. Good Will Ambassador) and Lamia Bashar for receiving Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by European Parliament. Yazda is proud of its relentless efforts and continuous support for Nadia Initiative and hundreds of other Yazidi women and female children who have been victimized by ISIL groups. As an advocacy and humanitarian organization, we strive to provide the best support possible for the Yazidi community with healthcare, psycho-Therapy, humanitarian aid, and advocate on their behalf in the international community

Press Release: French Parliament urges the French Government to recognize the Yazidi genocide and to seize the International Criminal Court through the United Nations Security Council.

The French Parliament adopted this morning a resolution urging the French Government to:

  • Recognize the genocide perpetrated by Daesh against Yazidi, Christians and other minorities in Irak and Syria
  • Refer this situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) through the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

During the parliamentary discussion, most of the Members of Parliament have made reference to the UN report They Came to Destroy: ISIS Crimes against the Yazidis which urged the International Community to recognize the “ongoing genocide against Yazidis” and to fight impunity for perpetrators.

Yazda welcomes the adoption of this resolution and takes this opportunity to reiterate its main recommendations for the French Government:

  • Formally recognize the Yazidi genocide separate from collective recognition of Genocide.
  • Support establishing a safe zone for Yazidis and other minorities under international protection.
  • Relocate in France Yazidi vulnerable victims of continuing genocidal attacks, especially Yazidi women and girls who managed to escape captivity.
  • Provide financial and technical support for forensic expertise of the 42 mass graves already identified by Yazda in Sinjar. Support financially rebuild of liberated Yazidi Areas.

 

In February 2016, CAP international facilitated the advocacy tour of Nadia Murad Basee Taha and Yazda to Paris. On this occasion, Yazda and Nadia Murad met with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Presidential office (Elysée). They also met with Ministers Laurence Rossignol and Najat Vallaud Belkacem, the President of the Senate, Gérard Larcher, and two delegations of Senators and member of the Assemblée nationale.

Yazda websitewww.yazda.org

The Yazidis are a People and an ethno-religious group based mainly in northern Iraq, Kurdistan, Germany, Russia, Armenia, and Georgia. Yazidis have a 6,000-year-old distinctive culture. ISIS launched a genocidal attack on the Yazidi People in August 2014, justified by falsely declaring Yazidis to be ‘devil worshippers’.

In the ISIS campaign of genocide captured Yazidi men and male teenagers were immediately murdered, younger boys sent for indoctrination as future ISIS fighters, young women and girls kidnapped as sex slaves while the middle aged and older women were subsequently murdered.

In summary approximately 5000 Yazidis were massacred, 7000 abducted and 90% of the Yazidi community displaced to refugee camps, mostly in Kurdistan, Iraq. Some 3,400 women and children remain in ISIS captivity either as sex slaves or undergoing brainwashing as future ISIS fighters. An estimated 2,576 Yazidi women and children have escaped or been rescued from ISIS captivity, of whom 1,100 have been brought to Germany for counselling and therapy. Some 42 Yazidi religious sites have been destroyed, numerous graveyards desecrated and Yazidi property plundered.

Press Release in English

Press Release in Arabic

Yazda Press Release: Canadian MPs urged to work together to help Yazidi victims of genocide and sexual slavery by ISIS

Yazda Press Release: Sunday 23 October 2016

For immediate release

Canadian MPs urged to work together to help Yazidi victims of genocide and sexual slavery by ISIS

Call comes as House of Commons is set to vote on a Motion on 25 October

Yazda, the Yazidi non-governmental organisation, today called on Canadian Members of Parliament to vote in favour of the motion proposed on the Yazidi Genocide and approve granting special status to most vulnerable Yazidi victims of continuing genocidal attacks in Iraq.

Murad Ismael, Yazda Executive Director said “Yazda thanks MPs of all parties for their interest in the Yazidi genocide. It urges that the forthcoming House of Commons debate and vote on Tuesday 25 October conclude with an all-party resolution:

  • to formally recognize the Yazidi Genocide following recognition by the Canadian Government, UN, EU, US and UK.
  • grant special status to Yazidi vulnerable victims of continuing genocidal attacks, especially to Yazidi women and girls who managed to escape captivity.
  • to adopt UN recommendations as specified in the proposed motion.

“Nadia Murad and I were both struck by the overwhelming desire of so many MPs at the House of Commons debate in July 2016 to help our people and urge that Canada’s parliamentarians channel this collective goodwill into an all-party motion that will help our people.

“Such a motion backed up by action will defy ISIS and underpin Canada’s reputation for supporting the human rights of the most vulnerable because Yazidi women and girls have been particular targets of psychological, physical and sexual torture by ISIS” concluded Mr Ismael.

 

 ENDS

For further information on this media release please contact:

Murad Ismael, Executive Director, Yazda

Telephone (832) 638-4348

Email: murad.ismael@yazda.org

Website: www.yazda.org

 

Note to Editors:

Yazda is an international not-for-profit organisation established to support the Yazidi community in the aftermath of the August 2014 genocide. It runs projects to help Yazidis in Iraq and has documented 35 mass graves in territory liberated from ISIS.

Nadia Murad Basee Taha, a 23 year old Iraqi Yazidi escapee from ISIS captivity recently appointed United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, is working with international human rights lawyer Ms Amal Clooney on Yazda’s campaign to persuade the International Criminal Court to open an investigation regarding ISIS crimes.

Yazda met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on 19 September 2016 at the United Nations in New York and on 19 July 2016 gave testimony to Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/yazda.organization/

Twitter: @yazda.organization

Website: www.yazda.org

The Yazidis are a religious minority based mainly in northern Iraq and have a 6,000 year old culture. ISIS launched a genocidal attack on the Yazidi community in August 2014, justified by falsely declaring Yazidis to be ‘devil worshippers’.

In the ISIS campaign of genocide captured Yazidi men and male teenagers were immediately murdered, younger boys sent for indoctrination as future ISIS fighters, young women and girls kidnapped as sex slaves while the middle aged and older women were subsequently murdered.

In summary approximately 5000 Yazidis were massacred, 7000 abducted and 90% of the Yazidi community displaced to refugee camps, mostly in Kurdistan, Iraq. Some 3,400 women and children remain in ISIS captivity either as sex slaves or undergoing brainwashing as future ISIS fighters. An estimated 2,576 Yazidi women and children have escaped or been rescued from ISIS captivity, of whom 1,100 have been brought to Germany for counselling and therapy. Some 42 Yazidi religious sites have been destroyed, numerous graveyards desecrated and Yazidi property plundered.

The above has been documented in the June 2016 report of the UN Commission of Inquiry into Syria, ‘They Came to Destroy: ISIS Crimes against the Yazidis’ which concluded that “genocide has occurred and is ongoing” against the Yazidi community.

Yazda in Partnership with UNDP Expands its Shingal Outreach Project

Yazda is pleased to announce $572000 expansion of our Shingal Outreach project in cooperation with UNDP.  Previously, Yazda has worked in the Shingal (Sinjar) region of Iraq to distribute material aid and livelihood support, conduct community outreach activities, and provide medical and psychosocial facilities for the local community.

Shingal Outreach will focus on further material aid and livelihood support opportunities. Our other programs operating in the region will continue on an ongoing basis.

In July of 2016, Yazda signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to become an implementing partner in Shingal(Sinjar). The cooperation and support offered by the UNDP greatly expands Yazda’s capacity to serve and support the local community in Shingal.

Among both local and international NGOs, Yazda has unparalleled access to, dialogue with, and knowledge of the local community in Shingal, its history and geography, and its unique problems and challenges. We expect Shingal Outreach to serve a minimum of 2,500 of the most vulnerable households on and north of Shingal Mountain (in Sinjar and Sinuni subdistricts).

 

These households will receive immediate livelihood empowerment. Special emphasis will be given to female-headed households, ISIS survivors and people with special needs

  • Activities may include the following, as needs assessments indicate:
  • The provision of beehives and beekeeping training,
  • The distribution of egg-laying chickens,
  • The distribution of milking goats,
  • The provision of soap-making classes and the equipment necessary to start soap-making businesses,
  • The provision of midwifery training provided to women with existing medical backgrounds,
  • The provision of classes for tailoring and sewing, in addition to sewing machines and materials needed to start sewing businesses, and
  • The provision of seeds, trees, and irrigation equipment to local families needed to revitalize their farms.

Yazda hopes that our Shingal Outreach project will facilitate and support families returning to Shingal or families located in the area that were displaced from August 2014. If returns are to be possible, it is of the utmost importance to begin providing the kind of revitalizing support that will enable vulnerable families in Shingal to survive. Focused livelihood support will also help reignite the local economy in a robust way.

 

The total budget for this project is $572000 and this amount will be distributed in four phases for a period of six months.
Yazda would like to thank the UNDP for its generous support of our activities and of the local community. We look forward to working together and to ongoing partnerships in the future.

A Statement by Nadia Murad and Yazda`s Communication Team on Nadia and Yazda Visit to Australia

 

Press release, August 17, 2016


Nadia Murad, a survivor of ISIS enslavement and human trafficking, and a human rights activist, will travel to Australia on August 19th-26th as part of a delegation by Yazda, a global Yazidi organisation, to highlight the situation of Yazidi people under an ongoing genocide by ISIS since 2014.

Nadia Murad, Ahmed Khudida, Yazda deputy Executive director and Nikki Marczak, Genocide scholar at Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies will visit the University of Sydney to participate in a public event with religious communities in Sydney, Meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Minister Peter Dutton as well as with Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, visit Queensland university and participate in a public event with Global Center for Responsibility to Protect. In this visit Nadia and Yazda will raise the following points:  

1-Global opposition to  terrorism, radicalization and human trafficking.

2-  Recognition of Yazidi genocide and accountability for ISIS for their crimes against Yazidis, Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria.

3- Helping refugees to be relocated to Australia. Discuss the situation of refugees in Turkey, Syria and Greece as well as the situation of ISIS survivors who managed to flee from ISIS captivity.  

4- Adapting International measures to ensure the future of all religious and ethnical groups in Iraq and Syria.

 

Nadia will also meet some NGOs, media and other civil society organizations to raise awareness about the current situation of women and children in the conflict areas in Iraq and Syria. Nadia`s visit to Australia is occurring within her humanitarian mission to ask the international community to designate the heinous crimes perpetrated against Yazidis as genocide by ISIS and asks the United Nations Security Council to refer these crimes to the International Criminal Court for prosecution. Nadia is also leading a special campaign to prompt the Muslim world to reject ISIS and to condemn ISIS crimes against humanity, particularly against children and women, carried out in the name of Islam. Her mission includes seeking to deter Muslim youths from joining or supporting ISIS, and asking them to promote tolerance towards the beliefs of others.

Nadia is doing all this work despite the psychological trauma of the brutality and appalling sexual violence to which she was subjected, the massacre of her family, and the destruction of her homeland, Nadia escaped the ISIS fighters, recovered, and confronted her trauma. Through her advocacy, Nadia has met with numerous presidents, prime ministers, and other heads of state around the world, in addition to countless meetings with religious and community leaders and other high-level officials.

For more information about the press release please contact:

Yazda Global Organisation: 00447495062635, ahmed.khudida@yazda.org, www.yazda.org or  

Nikki Marczak nikki@carobtree.com.au

 

Note for Editors: 
Nadia Murad Basee Taha is based in Germany and is heading a campaign to highlight the Yazidi genocide by ISIS and obtain help for the victims. Her appearance before the UN Security Council in New York on 16 December 2015 is on this link:
http://webtv.un.org/watch/nadia-murad-basee-taha-isil-victim-on-trafficking-of-persons-in-situations-of-conflict-security-council-7585th-meeting/4665835954001 

 

She is working with international human rights lawyer Ms Amal Clooney to persuade the International Criminal Court to open a genocide investigation regarding ISIS crimes.

 

Since December 2015 Nadia has undertaken numerous meetings as part of her campaign to build awareness of what is happening to ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq. As can be seen on her Twitter account those she has met include the Prime Ministers of Norway and Greece, the President of Greece, the US Secretary of State, the UN Secretary General, the Foreign Ministers of Belgium and Sweden, the French Minister for Education, committees of the European and Canadian Parliaments and the US Senate and the members of the European Parliament and the parliaments of Belgium, France, Germany, Norway and Sweden and senior officials of the European Commission and the French Foreign Ministry. Prominent German politicians she has met include Mr Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Mr Ms Barbara Lochbihler, Member of the European Parliament, member of the Bundestag Dr Johann Wadephul, the Niedersachsen SPD parliamentary party and Germany’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva,  Dr Joachim Ruecker.

 

Yazda is a Yazidi non governmental organisation that is providing Nadia’s support team and that works to help Yazidis through a range of projects. It is spearheading the campaign for an International Criminal Court to open a genocide investigation and lodged a report with the ICC in the Hague in 2015. It has documented the sites of over 35 mass graves of Yazidi massacre victims. In Kurdistan it runs a primary medical care centre, a psychosocial treatment and trauma support centre for former captives, educational initiatives and aid projects.

 

Facts: On 3 August 2014 ISIS launched a genocidal attack on Yazidi communities in the Mount Sinjar area of Northern Iraq. ISIS has justified its campaign of extermination by falsely declaring Yazidis to be ‘devil worshippers’. If captured Yazidi men and male teenagers were immediately murdered, younger boys sent off for indoctrination as future ISIS fighters, young women and girls kidnapped as sex slaves while the middle aged and older women were subsequently murdered.

 

The largest known massacre took place in Nadia’s home village of Kocho, where nearly every male over the age of 12 was murdered, approximately over 400 murders. The victims include her mother and 6 of her brothers. Approximately 5000 Yazidis have been murdered, 7000 abducted and 90% of the Yazidi community displaced to refugee camps, mostly in Kurdistan. An estimated 2576 Yazidi women and children have escaped or been rescued from ISIS captivity, of whom 1100 have been brought to Germany under the Special Quota Programme. Some 42 Yazidi religious sites have been destroyed and graveyards have been desecrated.

 

Opening Yazda in Germany

Opening Yazda in Germany

Announcement

Yazda is pleased to announce that it is in the beginning stages of setting up branches across Germany.

We are opening an application period for those who are interested in joining and/or working for Yazda. We seek qualified people who have a desire and passion to establish Yazda local leadership where the work will be focused within various functional committees.

Applicants must fill out and send the attached Yazda Germany application forms with a copy of their CV.

After selecting Yazda Germany leadership from each province, the crew will proceed to the next stage of launching their work with the help and support of Yazda major board members. This will then lead to the official registration of Yazda. After finishing the registration process, the Yazda Germany board will receive the applicants who are interested in supporting the work of the organization.

Applicant qualifications and requirements:

1 – All applicants must be independent and not involved in and/or belong to any political activities or parties, and must believe and follow the principles and values of Yazda’s strategy in working and dealing with all international and local parties to serve the Yazidi people.

2 – Applicants must hold a college degree or an equivalent academic degree to be eligible for leadership or any other education level for non leadership levels.

3 – Applicants must have a desire and willingness to work voluntarily and be able to dedicate time for the task.

4 – Applicants must speak German, English, the mother tongue or Arabic.

5 – Applicants must fill the attached form along with their CVs to our email address volunteers@yazda.org or listed in the application form.

6 – All applicants must be aware of that all Yazda branches are affiliated with and led by the main branch in USA.

7 – Yazda Germany will be on probation for six months so that new members can familiarize themselves with the Yazda strategy and in order to acclimate with each other as a team.

8 – Yazda leadership in every country is independent in terms of the work itself but the work should always fit within Yazda by-laws and protocols.

Yazda media

Yazda-Germany-application-form (3)

Nadia Murad & Yazda members talk about the suffering of Yazidi people

Nadia Murad & Yazda members invited by LACE Production & Koffler centre of the Arts to talk about the suffering of Yazidi people

 

LACE Productions & Koffler Centre of the Arts invited the speakers Nadia Murad (Nobel Peace Prize nominee), Rozin Hanjool (Women’s Affairs Manager, Yazda) Haider Elias (Yazda President) and Hannah Rittner (writer of The Unbelievers) in a conversation with Rachel Browne (Staff Reporter, VICE News). The speakers shared their responses to The Unbelievers, a play presented at the 2016 SummerWorks Performance Festival from August 5-14, which explored the massacre of the Yazidi people in Sinjar and sex-trafficking of Yazidi women. Using issues rose in the play as a springboard, the speakers discussed the crisis of the Yazidi people and ways Canada can help.

This event was co-presented by LACE Productions and the Koffler Centre of the Arts with support from an anonymous donor, The Goethe-Institute, Yazda, Canadian Consortium on Performance and Politics in the Americas, Laifun Chung and Ted Kotcheff, York University’s Graduate Program in Theatre & Performance Studies, and York University’s Centre for Human Rights.
Yazda wants to thank LACE Production & Koffler Centre of Arts and all others who helped arrange this event, and for their efforts to support the Yazidi women who have been victims of ISIS.

 

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PRESS RELEASE: Commemoration of the 2007 Sinjar Massacres against the Yazidis

Persecution of Yazidis by radical groups in 2007 resulted in the killing of more than 1000 Yazidis and over 1,500 injured.

Iraq, August 14, 2016:  On August 14, 2007, Al-Qaida terrorists attacked Yazidi civilians in Shingal “Sinjar” with four coordinated suicide car bombs in the Yazidi towns of Til Azir “Kahtaniya” and Siba Shex Khider “Al-Jazeera” on the southern side of Sinjar Mountain. The attack targeted residential and commercials areas of the two towns with the intention of killing as many people as possible.

The attack resulted in the killing of more than 1000 Yazidis – including children, woman and men – with over 1,500 civilians injured. These four attacks are considered the deadliest and most damaging single attacks by a radical group followed only by the September 11th attacks on the United States.

Systematic persecution of Yazidis can be traced back several centuries. Radical groups justify their horrific violence against Yazidis based on the belief that Yazidis are not “People of the book” – defining them as Infidels according to their strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.

The August 2007 attacks left behind hundreds of orphans and widows.  This tragedy was only further deepened as the so-called Islamic State waged a genocidal campaign against the Yazidis in August 2014. The same towns (along with Kocho, Qini and Hardan) were the most affected in term of lives losts and abductions. An estimated 10,000 Yazidis were killed or enslaved during the 2014 Genocide and nearly the entire Yazidi population of 400,000 people were displaced.

“The 2014 genocide against the Yazidis was the last link in the chain of historic and systematic persecution by Radical Islamic Groups. This latest genocide – which has been acknowledged by the United Nations – must provoke the international community to look deeply into the problems facing Yazidis and adapt new measures to protect the Yazidis from radical groups. Unless the world stands up and takes responsibility, the very existence of Yazidis is at stake” – Murad Ismael, Yazda Executive Director

Full Statement in PDF format

 

Supporting Yazidi Women

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Over the course of 6 months, 10th graders from a high school in San Jose, CA, researched the sexually exploitation and slavery of Yazidi women by ISIS, gave presentations about this topic to the students and the teachers of their school, began a gofundme site, and undertook numerous fundraisers that collected a total of $3,000. They have since donated that amount to YAZDA organization and are hoping that their small contribution can make, in the end, a big impact on the lives of the women who have been victimized by ISIS. The funds that these students raised were used to invite a group of twenty women survivors to a spiritual trip to Lalish (Yazidi Holy place), and the fund was distributed to those women in form of cash.
They enjoyed the lunch, they enjoyed being in Lalish, and they enjoyed a supporting conversation with Yazidi religious leaders for spiritual healing after they endured this prolonged trauma under ISIS`s captivity
Yazda would like to express its sincere gratitude and appreciation both to these wonderful students and their teachers for their kind gesture that had a great impact on these women’s lives

Italy Scholarship Recipients Visit Yazda Leadership

The Italy scholarship recipients recently visited Yazda’s office in Duhok, where they met with Yazda leadership. There they were congratulated on this great accomplishment, and were encouraged on how to succeed abroad in a new environment. These young men and women are currently internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraqi Kurdistan, and will be funded through scholarships acquired by Yazda.

The highly-motivated students of the Italy scholarship program will study in a variety of academic disciplines, and will pursue both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. In addition to their university studies, the students will also take Italian language classes. They will begin their courses in the Fall, and are excited to do so, especially given the way this academic training has the potential to benefit the Yazidi community in the future. As one student, Ferial Yousif, points out, “This scholarship is of great value to me because it will enable me to deliver a message to the world that Yazidis will stand together to build a better future.”

So far, the students have had their applications for admission approved and are in the process — with Yazda’s help — of completing their visas. Yazda is dedicated to supporting these students throughout their time of study in Italy as this program fits within the wider context and goals of Yazda’s educational program. Furthermore, we hope to continue acquiring scholarships and sending students abroad to study so that they will be better equipped to serve their communities going forward.

Yazda would again like to congratulate these students and wishes them great success during their time in Italy.