Following Yazda's submission and participation in an expert consultation in Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, from 31 January to 1 February 2019, UN the Special Rapporteur, Ms. Maria Grazia Giammarinaro published its June 2019 report focusing on key challenges and innovative and transformative models of social inclusion of victims of trafficking into societies.
To this regard, the report mentions the Yazidi community's and Yazda's efforts in helping the survivors to reintegrate the community while combatting stigma and discrimination. She highlights that "Political, religious and community leaders have a key role to play to combat stigma and discrimination. For instance, it was reported that Yazidi survivors returning to Iraq after having been held captive by ISIL expressed their desire to meet their spiritual leaders and benefit from a “purification” ceremony with the aim of bringing back their initial Yazidi faith and “cancelling” forced conversion to ISIL ideology. An NGO, Yazda, took an innovative and survivor-led approach in this regard, by helping to implement these ceremonies and organising around 100 trips to Lalish, the holiest Yazidi place, for around 500 survivors. This highly therapeutic ritual, coupled with public statements by the highest Yazidi spiritual leader reassuring communities that “those rescued remain pure Yazidis and everyone should cooperate so that victims can return to their normal lives and integrate into society” contributed substantially to their social inclusion."
In the report, the Special Rapporteur also underlines the faith of the Yazidi children born from rape who cannot be registered as Yazidis in Iraq: "[I]t was reported that Yazidi women subjected to sexual enslavement by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) could not register their babies born as a result of rape, because Iraqi law only allows for children to be registered under the name of the father. Since the father would in most cases be an ISIL member, in accordance with Iraqi law, registered children would automatically becomeMuslim, with no consideration of the mother’s faith. As a result, Yazidi women survivors refuse to register their children, which results in most children becoming stateless and having no access to fundamental rights. In the Middle East, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have reported considerable challenges in registering the births of migrant children, due to the absence of pathways to legal residency or citizenship."
Yazda encourages other religious and community leaders to reintegrate victims of SGBV into their community and to not submit them to stigma and discrimination. Yazda also calls upon the Iraqi authorities to amend its law in order to take into account the unbearable situation of children born from rape.
Full report available in English: https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G19/112/06/PDF/G1911206.pdf?OpenElement
Full report available in Arabic: https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G19/112/04/PDF/G1911204.pdf?OpenElement
Yazda participation in the UN expert consultation in Ethiopia: https://www.yazda.org/post/yazda-s-participation-in-the-preparation-of-2019-thematic-report-of-the-un-human-rights-council?fbclid=IwAR0r_vscbOGRxeoNsKNLo6BTvZV2mhq2kP43oj9jz4ciXwC3KTiD2aJfQUU