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Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 02, 2024 10:24 pm

Yazidi woman reunites with family

A Yazidi woman who was kidnapped during the Islamic State’s (ISIS) reign of terror in Shingal (Sinjar) in 2014, returned home to Iraq and was reunited with her family on Saturday, a month after she was rescued during an operation in northeast Syria’s al-Hol camp

Iraq’s national intelligence service on Saturday said that Kovan Aidi Khourto was repatriated by their forces, following a directive from Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani.

“The operation was carried out based on accurate intelligence about her whereabouts in Syrian territory, in order to reach her and return her to Iraq and hand her over to her family,” said the Iraqi intelligence in a statement.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on February 4 announced that Khourto was liberated in al-Hol camp by the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) - the SDF’s all-female partner force.

The YPJ said that the group handed the Yazidi woman to her family on Saturday.

When ISIS swept through the Yazidi heartland of Shingal in August 2014, committing genocide, the group abducted 6,417 women and children who were forced into sexual slavery and labour. Around 2,700 of them are still missing. Many have been rescued from al-Hol, the notorious camp that houses tens of thousands of ISIS families and supporters.

The sprawling camp has been criticized for its poor conditions and insecurity. Many of the residents still hold ISIS ideology and the camp has been dubbed a breeding ground for terrorism.

Kurdish forces have conducted several security operations in the camp.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/020320242
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 02, 2024 10:29 pm

Compensation for 14,000 Shingal families

The Iraqi government is assessing 14,000 applications for compensation from Yazidis who fled Shingal during the Islamic State’s (ISIS) reign of terror, a government advisor said on Saturday

“Around 1,000 applications are about to finish and the compensation committee has 14,000 applications to assess,” Khalaf Shingali, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani’s advisor for Yazidi affairs, told Rudaw.

On August 3, 2014, ISIS militants seized the Shingal district of northern Iraq, committing genocide against the Yazidi minority. Thousands fled their homes as the militants systematically killed men and older women, and enslaved younger women and children. More than 5,000 Yazidis were killed in the genocide.

    Shingal was liberated from the group in late 2015, but lack of reconstruction, political disputes, and ongoing insecurity have prevented most families from returning to their homes
Baghdad reached a deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in October of 2020 over the governance and security of Shingal, dubbed the Shingal agreement, to allow displaced families to return to their homes. Implementation of the deal, however, has been a problem.

There is a myriad of armed forces in Shingal with various allegiances, including the Kurdistan Region Peshmerga, pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, or Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic), and groups affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). They gained footholds in Shingal after ousting ISIS.

Under the Shingal agreement, security is Baghdad's responsibility and the federal government was to establish a new armed force recruited from the local population and expel fighters from the PKK and their affiliated groups.

Shingali said that the biggest obstacle to projects in the region is “a lack of an administrative authority,” but said some steps have been taken by both Erbil and Baghdad to implement the Shingal agreement.

“Some points of the agreement have been implemented. For example, 500 police officers have been recruited and 500 more are in training,” he said.

According to Shingali, Sudani also decided to establish a university in Shingal and a piece of land has been allocated to build the campus that will include residential accommodation for staff and students.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/02032024
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 08, 2024 8:06 pm

Turkish drone kills PKK fighter in Sinjar

ERBIL (Kurdistan24) – A Turkish drone on Friday targeted a group of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters in Sinjar district, killing a top official and wounding his bodyguard, according to the Kurdistan Region Directorate General of Counter-Terrorism (CTD)

They were targeted near the village of Zarka in the western Sinjar district at 5:30 pm.

Earlier, on Friday Turkish warplanes killed two people and another injured in Duhok’s Shiladze district.

Bolstered by its advanced drone industry, Turkey has ramped up its drone strikes in recent years, particularly in the urban centers of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, to target suspected PKK positions.

Kurdistan Region officials regularly call on Baghdad, officially in charge of border security affairs, to prevent insurgents and foreign militaries from engaging in hostilities within its territory. Officials have voiced concerns about the increasing presence of foreign militia forces in the area.

Much of the conflict has been fought in the border areas of the Kurdistan Region, which has endangered civilian populations.

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/story/34 ... -in-Sinjar

ALL armed militia, including the PKK, should leave Yazidi lands IMMEDIATELY
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 29, 2024 11:39 am

Yezidi IDPs Call for Resignation
    of Iraqi Migration Minister
Yezidi Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Sinjar held a press conference on Thursday, urging the resignation of Evan Faek Gabro, Iraqi Federal Minister of Displacement and Migration

They've been residing in camps in the Kurdistan Region for almost a decade, yet claim to have received no support from the Federal government, despite legal and moral obligations. The IDPs accuse the minister of pressuring them to return home without provisioning basic necessities.

Among their demands are the implementation of the Sinjar agreement, compensation for damages caused by the 2014 terrorist attack, reconstruction of Sinjar and its environs, provision of essential services, acknowledgment of the Yezidi genocide, and expulsion of militias from Sinjar.

In August 2014, the Islamic State (ISIS) militants assaulted Sinjar and nearby areas, resulting in over 5,000 Yezidi deaths and the enslavement of about 6,000 women and minors, displacing around 400,000 others.

Most Yezidis sought refuge in Kurdistan or fled to neighboring nations or Western countries. Some remained in the conflict zone, enduring atrocities such as mass executions and sexual slavery.

The Kurdish Kurmanji-speaking community has suffered at least 72 genocides. European countries, notably Germany, have hosted many Yezidis fleeing violence, with nearly 10,000 killed or kidnapped by IS. The United Nations recognizes these acts against the Yezidi people as genocide, with over 3,500 Yezidis rescued thus far, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government.

https://www.basnews.com/en/babat/843931
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 30, 2024 11:39 pm

No justice for ISIS victims

The Yazidi community of Shingal (Sinjar) on Saturday criticized an accord signed by Arab community leaders and Yazidi tribal chiefs calling for harmony in the Yazidi heartland

The accord, titled “Community Harmony in Northern Shingal,” consists of 11 points that focus on renouncing violence and extremism, supporting state institutions in administering the affairs of the town, and calling on Iraqi authorities and the international community to address security concerns and expedite compensating the families of Islamic State (ISIS) victims.

The document was prepared by the United States Institute of Peace in cooperation with the local al-Tahreer Association for Development. The Shingal area is where ISIS committed genocide against the Yazidi minority when it seized control of Nineveh province in 2014. Thousands fled their homes as the militants systematically killed men and older women, and enslaved younger women and children. More than 5,000 Yazidis were killed in the genocide.

Ten years on, much of the Yazidi community remains displaced, reconstruction has been slow in Shingal where there is still insecurity, and the victims of ISIS are still waiting for justice.

Maysar Murad Qasim, chieftain of Hardan, a Yazidi village in Shingal, said that the tribal leaders who signed onto the accord do not represent the community or families of ISIS victims, adding that no one from the villages and areas most affected by the group’s reign of terror were present at the signing of the document.

“We have no problems with anyone. We just want the ISIS members who are still here to be put on trial and get the punishment they deserve,” Qasim told Rudaw English on Saturday evening.

The local chieftain announced that families of the victims and other members of the community will hold demonstrations in Hardan on Sunday morning to protest the accord, which he said ignores the basic demands of the community. The village is one of the disputed areas in Nineveh.

Among their demands, Qasim said they want the government to finish exhuming mass graves of ISIS victims and to speed up identifying the remains that have been recovered so that families can finally lay them to rest.

“Our bodies have been in Baghdad for two years, but the forensics have only identified 16 of them… The families of the victims have their eyes on this process. They want to know where their loved ones are,” Qasim said.

Murad Ismael, a Yazidi activist, also criticized the accord. He said it failed to acknowledge the Yazidi genocide and stressed that the community will not accept reconciliation as a substitute for justice.

“While it is true we don’t have the military means to get justice as others do, we will not close this page as if nothing happened. If we fail as a generation to get justice for our cause, we will pass it to our children so they can carry on,” Ismael wrote in a Facebook post.

Shingal was liberated from ISIS in late 2015, but lack of reconstruction, political disputes, and ongoing insecurity have prevented most families from returning to their homes.

The newly-appointed Nineveh governor Abdulqadir al-Dakhil also signed the accord on Saturday, hailing “a historic day in Nineveh.”

“We pledge as a local government by signing this accord that we will provide true support to the area,” said Dakhil.

“We are eagerly anticipating the return of Yazidis to Shingal to play a major role in creating the new glory of Nineveh,” said the governor, adding “Ten years after the liberation, the Yazidis are still paying a hefty price by residing in camps and it is our duty to return them to Shingal strengthened and honored.”

There is now a myriad of armed forces in Shingal with various allegiances, including the Kurdistan Region Peshmerga, pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and groups affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). They gained footholds in Shingal after ousting ISIS.

Dakhil told Rudaw’s Adla Bakir that Shingal continues to be destabilized by political issues and security concerns, but stressed that there are promising initiatives from the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to resolve the issues, including efforts to appoint a head of the administrative unit, which he referred to as “the real key” to addressing the town’s problems.

Baghdad and Erbil signed an agreement in 2020 to normalize the situation in Shingal, but the deal has yet to be implemented.

The agreement includes the withdrawal of all PKK-affiliated forces from the city. Despite both the KRG and the Iraqi government calling on all armed groups to leave Shingal on several occasions, the agreement has been rejected by the PKK and its proxies.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/300320241
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Apr 10, 2024 10:16 pm

Charshama Sor Holiday

Wednesday 17 April 6774

Hat çarşema sore,

Nîsan xemilandibû bi xore,

Ji batin da ye bi more.

Hat çarşema sor û zere,

Bihar xemilandibû ji kesk û sor û sipî û zere,

Me pê xemilandin seredere.

(Ji Qewlê Çarşemê)

“Sarsal" means the Yazidi New year, which is celebrated on the first Wednesday (April) in the Eastern calendar, corresponding to the Julian calendar. This is a very ancient holiday, which dates back to the ancient cults of Mesopotamia and elements of which are still preserved in many Nations. This holiday is also known under different names: Charshama Sor , Aida Sarsale, Sarsala Tausi Malak, Aida Tausi Malak.

Recently the holiday began to use the name "Charshama Sor", which in Kurmanji is translated as Red Wednesday. It should be noted that the Yezidis themselves also associated this holiday with red. In fact, the word "sor" here means a holiday. Charshama Sor existed in ancient Iran called Chahar, Shanbe Suri that from Pahlavi language is translated as "Wednesday Holiday " or "Holiday of Wednesday". Since calendars in ancient Iran changed, the time of holidays also moved. In the Sasanid era were used two calendars – "iari” 365 days, and “saradhe" duration of 365.24224 days.

As for the celebration of the feast of charshama sor, Yazidis different regions celebrate it differently. According to Yazidi sacred texts, it is a holiday of Tausi Malak (Head of angels), who by the will of God decorates the earth, gives it life.

On the eve of the holiday in every house is preparing food, and on the night of the New Year and with the onset of the day the food is blessed. Yazidis say that the month of Nisan (April) is the bride of the year (bûka salê) and therefore this month Yazidis are strictly forbidden to have a wedding. According to their belief, by April the land should be plowed by peasants and prepared for sowing. At the same time, the Yezidis commemorate their dead. The day before they bake cakes (kulîç), and bread "Savka" (sewke), and distribute them to the people in need or neighbors, and the next morning with fruit and dishes go to the graves of the dead.

Young people go to the field to collect the April red flowers and, tying them in a bunch, hang over the front door as a sign of the consecration of the inhabitants of this house and considered gifts for Tausi Malak. In the morning, all the houses are beautifully decorated, and the hostess brings to the table painted in red, yellow and green eggs, symbolizing the life and diversity of the world. In each village begins universal jubilation. Yazidis form a huge dance and dance to the music of “zurna” and drum.

During this holiday in Lalysh priests read prayers and sacred hymns, and in the evening light oil lamps. Since time immemorial, people have flocked here from all sides, eager for knowledge On the walls of Lalysh and the surrounding buildings in this holiday throughout the valley at night burning wicks. Lalysh valley sparkles with the lights of hundreds of lamps, giving it an amazingly beautiful view.

https://yazidis.info/en/news/104/charshama-sor-holiday
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Apr 17, 2024 1:16 pm

Yazidis celebrate arrival
    of New Year at Lalish
Followers of the Yazidi faith marked the arrival of the Yazidi New Year at the holy Temple of Lalish, with a large number of tourists joining the ethnoreligious minority in celebrating the renewal of life

Yazidis celebrate their New Year on the first Wednesday of April, based on the Julian and Seleucid calendars; an occasion marked by a ceremony held in Lalish Temple in the mountains of Duhok where followers of the religion gather and light candles.

The celebrations continue at home as well, as they prepare traditional dishes, decorate eggs, exchange gifts, and pick flowers and attach them to one’s hair or turban.

Additionally, Yazidis light 366 candles at Lalish for each day of the Yazidi calendar.

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani on Wednesday extended his congratulations to Yazidi people all around the world, while delivering a keynote address at the eighth edition of Sulaimani Forum.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/170420241
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Apr 19, 2024 1:33 am

Armenia on Yezidi Genocide

In a historic move, the Armenian National Assembly has convened a special session, and unanimously approved a draft resolution to designate August 3 as a day to honor and remember the victims of the Yezidi genocide

The decision comes in recognition of the atrocities faced by the Yezidi community in 2014, when they were targeted in a brutal attack by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Sinjar, Department of Media and Information of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said in a statement on Thursday.

The bill, introduced by lawmaker Rostam Bakoyan, garnered widespread support and was passed with a resounding majority of 88 votes in the first reading.

Speaking on behalf of the Armenian government, Deputy Foreign Minister Parver Hovhannisyan emphasized the importance of prioritizing efforts to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity, reaffirming Armenia's commitment to upholding human rights on the global stage.

This resolution builds upon Armenia's longstanding dedication to advocating for justice and recognition for the Yezidi community.

In 2018, the Armenian parliament took a significant step by passing a resolution officially acknowledging the Yezidi genocide in Iraq, and urging the international community to investigate the atrocities committed against this vulnerable minority group.

The Yezidis hold a special place in Armenian society, being the largest religious and ethnic minority in the country. Recognized as a distinct ethnic community, their cultural heritage and contributions enrich the fabric of Armenian society.

Estimates suggest that between 35,000 and 50,000 Yezidis reside in Armenia, underscoring the significance of commemorating their resilience and honoring the memory of those who perished in the genocide.

https://www.basnews.com/en/babat/845900
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Apr 19, 2024 7:27 pm

Mass Grave Uncovered in Sinjar

A mass grave has been found in the community of Siba Sheikh Dri in Sinjar during road construction preparations, shedding light on the horrors of the Islamic State (ISIS) onslaught in 2014

PETRICHOR, a human rights organization, has joined the excavation efforts, pledging to focus on specific aspects of the mass grave.

Out of 89 mass graves in Sinjar, 38 have been excavated, allowing the return of 160 individuals' remains to their families. Additionally, 500 remains have been sent to Baghdad's forensic medical examination center for DNA testing.

On August 3, 2014, IS launched a genocidal campaign against the Yazidi population in Sinjar and nearby areas. Over 6,500 Yazidi women and children were kidnapped, while more than 350,000 people were displaced, seeking refuge in the Kurdistan Region camps. Tragically, around 2,500 Yazidis remain missing.

The liberation of Sinjar on November 13, 2015, by Peshmerga forces under the leadership of Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Kurdistan Region at the time, marked a significant turning point in the Region's fight against IS terror.

Furthermore, the Sinjar Agreement signed on October 9, 2020, between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi federal government in Baghdad, aimed to tackle governance and security challenges in the Region and the disputed territories, signaling a step towards stability and reconciliation.

https://www.basnews.com/en/babat/845977
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jun 21, 2024 4:13 am

Yazidi Nationality Bill

A proposal to recognise Yazidis as a distinct nationality within Iraq has ignited political controversy, particularly among the Kurdish bloc in the Iraqi parliament.

The Yazidi Nationality draft law, introduced by Yazidi representatives, aims to elevate the Yazidis to the same status as other recognised Iraqi nationalities such as Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen. This move has been met with resistance, mainly from Kurdish MPs, who argue that it could lead to division and further complications.

Last week, Yazidi MPs submitted the proposal to the Iraqi parliament, backed by signatures from 182 lawmakers across various factions. The Yazidi bloc regards the proposal as a crucial step towards justice for the community, which suffered genocidal attacks from Islamic State (ISIS) militants.

When ISIS occupied approximately a third of Iraq's territory in 2014, they targeted the Yazidis in the Sinjar region, committing widespread and horrific atrocities that includes mass killings, abductions and sexual enslavement.

Naif Khalaf Sidou, head of the Yazidi bloc, confirmed that the bill has been referred to the parliamentary legal committee. He noted that the acting Speaker of the House has approved sending the proposal to the finance committee, and then it will be sent to the legal committee before it undergoes the first and second readings and is ultimately put to a vote.

Yazidi activist Maiser Saeed told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister publication, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the Yazidis have endured significant oppression under ISIS and deserve recognition as a distinct Iraqi nationality. Saeed stressed that the bill would treat Yazidi as a nationality in terms of rights and duties, while not negating their religious identity.

He acknowledged opposition to the bill but highlighted that with 182 signatories, the bill stands a good chance of being voted on, which heightens the anxiety of opposing factions. Saeed asserted that the law would grant Yazidis a unified political voice comparable to other Iraqi communities.

The initiative coincided with the anniversary of ISIS atrocities against Yazidis, underscoring the community’s ongoing quest for recognition and justice. However, the proposal has faced fierce opposition from Kurdish politicians, who view it as divisive and legally untenable.

Ibrahim Mirani, an MP from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), described the proposal as illegal, stating that Yazidism is a religion, not a nationality. He stressed that Iraq does not categorize religions based on ethnicity. Mirani reiterated support for compensating Yazidis but opposed the legislation.

Ismail Al-Sanjari, another KDP member, characterized the bill as politically motivated. He argued that Yazidis are a historic and integral part of the Kurdish nationality and cannot be separated. Al-Sanjari vowed to work with like-minded MPs to prevent the bill from passing and urged Yazidi lawmakers to reconsider their stance, which he believes does not serve their best interests.

Murad Ismael, a Yazidi activist, supports the proposed law in the Iraqi Parliament to recognise Yazidis as both an ethnic group and a religious community, emphasising their unique ethno-religious identity. He calls for respect towards the shared historical and cultural ties between Yazidis and Kurds, urging that Yazidis' quest for independent identity should not be seen as against Kurdish interests.

Under the current parliamentary quota system, the Yazidi minority is allocated only one seat, a situation that Yazidi politicians argue does not reflect their population size. This limited representation has forced Yazidi candidates to run under Kurdish lists, a reality the draft law seeks to address by granting Yazidis independent national recognition.

As the debate unfolds, the future of the Yazidi Nationality Bill remains uncertain, with strong sentiments on both sides highlighting the complexities of identity and representation in Iraq's diverse and often contentious political landscape.

https://www.newarab.com/news/yazidi-nat ... parliament
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jun 22, 2024 9:02 pm

PKK, Armed Groups Hinder
Refugee Return in Sinjar


A member of Iraq's Parliament from Sinjar has criticized the decision of the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement and the Iraqi Council of Ministers for forcibly returning refugees to their original homes, describing the decision as politically motivated in closing down all refugee camps in the Kurdistan Region

Majid Sinjari, a member of the Council of Representatives, stated in an interview with Kurdistan24 that another obstacle to the return of people to Sinjar is the presence of a large number of illegal armed groups, which pose a threat to the lives of local people, especially the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"Everyone knows that there is no security and peace for the refugees to return to their homeland," Sinjari said in the interview.

"There are no jobs and suitable living conditions, especially in Sinjar, for them to return," he added.

On Thursday, June 20th, Sarwa Rasoul, Director General of the Crisis Coordination Center (JCC) at Kurdistan Region's Ministry of Interior, informed local media that there are about a million refugees in the Kurdistan Region, 700,000 of whom are Iraqis.

She criticized the lack of serious steps by the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement to facilitate the safe return of refugees to their original homes.

Rasoul emphasized that the Kurdistan Regional Government has provided extensive assistance to refugees and has made efforts to ensure their voluntary return to prevent demographic changes in those areas.

"However, we have not seen any serious steps taken by the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement to facilitate the return of refugees to their areas. The ministry seems to be obstructing the return of Iraqi refugees in order to alter the demographics of these areas," Rasoul explained.

The Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement aims to close all camps in Iraq by the end of July, with the goal of achieving a camp-free nation and complete repatriation of refugees to their original residences.

Last month, Kurdistan Region's Interior Minister Rebar Ahmed firmly stated that the region would not participate in any forced repatriation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), emphasizing Kurdistan's support for the voluntary return of IDPs and ensuring they are provided with a decent life upon their return.

https://www.basnews.com/en/babat/851994
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jun 26, 2024 9:48 am

Has Iraq helped ISIS evade justice for genocide?
By Tara Brian

This summer marks ten years since the Islamic State declared itself a “caliphate” and launched a brutal campaign of violence in Iraq, including a genocidal assault on the Yazidi minority in August 2014

More than six years since the territorial defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq, only nine members of the terrorist group have been convicted of international atrocity crimes for their roles there.

Not one of these prosecutions has occurred inside Iraq.

Despite this major deficit in criminal accountability, the United Nations (UN) mission to collect and preserve evidence of crimes committed by Islamic State in Iraq is being forced to shut prematurely this September before the completion of its mandate.

Only three months away and with no plan yet in place, survivors’ networks and international human rights lawyers fear loss of access to millions of pieces of evidence critical to the pursuit of justice.

"At its peak, Islamic State attracted over 40,000 people from more than 80 countries"

They say the closure of the mission is part of a larger failure of the international community to ensure holistic justice for some of the gravest crimes in recent history.

Natia Navrouzov has been engaged in evidence-gathering and survivor advocacy since 2015. A Yazidi from Georgia, she now heads the prominent organisation Yazda which formed in the weeks following attacks on the Yazidi homeland, Sinjar.

Yazda was one of many civil society groups that advocated for the creation of the UN investigation mission.

“Seeing it closed so abruptly and without proper communication or plan is distressing to the communities we serve,” she said, during a seminar last month bringing together NGOs, lawyers and human rights bodies concerned about the shutdown.

Invited by the Iraqi government in 2017 and stationed in Baghdad, the UN mission — UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIS (UNITAD) — aimed to help prepare the relevant Iraqi authorities as well as those in third countries to investigate and prosecute Islamic State crimes under international law.

Along with capacity building, assistance in the exhumation of mass grave sites and identification of remains, UNITAD has been amassing evidence, reaching 40 terabytes of documentary, forensic and digital materials by the spring of 2024.

10 years on, justice for the victims of the Yazidi genocide remains elusive.

But the Iraqi government has now withdrawn its invitation, reportedly following a souring of relations, according to Reuters.

“We are now racing against time to organise a plan for the orderly closure of UNITAD,” said Ana Peyró Llopis, the new head of the mission, as she briefed NGOs during the May seminar.

A burning question is what will happen to the evidence it has collected.

Although the intention of the mission was to support international criminal trials in Iraq, concerns over fair trial rights and the use of the death penalty, which violate UN rules, have prevented much of the materials collected by UNITAD from being handed over. Many survivors have also not consented for their testimonies to be shared with Iraqi authorities.

Furthermore, Iraq has not passed legislation to prosecute international crimes on its territory.

This impasse means there is a chance much of the evidence could simply be archived, rendering it unusable in criminal proceedings.

“The risk is that [the evidence] ends up, literally, in a basement in New York,” Navrouzov told The New Arab.

Advocates anxiously await a decision by the Security Council on the proposed creation of an “active repository” within the UN where the evidence could be securely preserved and remain accessible to third states.

Beyond Iraq, loss of the evidence would impede trials in foreign courts, thus far the only jurisdictions in which UNITAD’s work has been used to prosecute international crimes like genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

UNITAD has received 246 requests for evidence from 20 third states and has supported 15 cases that led to convictions, mainly in Europe.

Germany alone has convicted eight Islamic State members for international crimes against the Yazidis.

“German prosecutors [have] coordinated closely with UNITAD to gather evidence for the successful prosecution of ISIS [Islamic State] members, including for genocide,” said Nadine Reiner, a lawyer with the office of Amal Clooney, who was involved in the first case in the world to convict an Islamic State member of genocide in 2021.

“From our conversations with national prosecutors, we know they are particularly concerned about their access to witnesses and coordination to get witness testimony,” she told The New Arab.

The "ticking time bomb" of Islamic State convictions

Just this January, prosecutors in Lisbon succeeded in handing down a conviction of war crimes to an Iraqi Islamic State member seeking safe haven in Europe. The conviction, a first for Portugal, was achieved through collaboration with UNITAD and the Iraqi judiciary to identify and facilitate the participation of 13 witnesses in Iraq.

Trials for international crimes are upcoming in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and France, and investigations are ongoing in the UK. As more Islamic State fighters return home from camps in Syria, these prosecutions were only expected to increase.

"Not one Islamic State member in Syria's detention system has been held accountable for crimes under international law – including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide"

Despite the significance of convictions in Europe, these are a stop-gap measure for a broader, coordinated mechanism and justice taking place in Iraq, survivors’ groups say.

“It’s kind of a drop in the sea of all these atrocity crimes,” said Bojan Gavrilovic, a lawyer at the Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights, to The New Arab. “This cannot really meet the justice needs of the people and address the crimes that were really systematic and massive.”

The Jiyan Foundation is working to support the establishment of survivor-centred mechanisms for international criminal trials to take place in Iraq, the site where the crimes happened, and the home still to several hundred thousand Yazidis, most of whom remain displaced.

“We are convinced that many other countries are working on criminal prosecution, however, none of this will give the same feeling as justice taking place in our own country, for survivors and all those affected,” echoed Hassan Jameel, a lawyer working with the Coalition for Just Reparations, an alliance of more than 30 NGOs representing not only Yazidis but also other religious minorities, Sunnis and Shias targeted by Islamic State.

But there are major obstacles to this.

During the war on Islamic State and following the liberation of territory in 2017, tens of thousands of fighters were captured and imprisoned in Iraq. By 2019, Iraq’s judiciary had already processed some 20,000 terrorism-related cases. Many have been sentenced on charges of membership in a terrorist group, charges survivors say do not capture the gravity and extent of the crimes committed.

These trials have been marred by allegations of serious human rights violations, including routine use of “torture-tainted ‘confessions’.”

Last winter, federal Iraq resumed mass executions. Some 8,000 prisoners are on death row, according to human rights groups.

“There are many issues there and this is not something that we are supportive of,” said Gavrilovic. Furthermore, the current process does not allow for meaningful participation of survivors. “They don’t even know the trials are happening,” he said.
Has the international community failed the Yazidis?

Another roadblock is the lack of a legal framework in Iraq to prosecute international crimes. A draft law to address this is languishing in government offices.

While the Kurdistan Regional Government has pushed for the creation of a specialised tribunal for Islamic State crimes, in 2021 a proposal to establish such a court in the Kurdistan region was declared unconstitutional by the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court.

The regional government also created an evidence-gathering body in 2014 to build cases for international crimes, but thus far their evidence can mainly not be used in Iraq. They are in the process of making agreements with several third states to directly share evidence once UNITAD has gone.

Human rights lawyers and survivors’ groups say the closure of UNITAD is part of a broader failure not only of Iraq but of the international community to ensure justice for victims of the global terror group.

    From 2014 to 2017, at least 5,000 Yazidis were killed by Islamic State militants, with more than 10,000 Yazidi women forced into sex slavery.

At its peak, Islamic State attracted over 40,000 people from more than 80 countries.

Today, some 56,000 men, women and children with perceived affiliation to Islamic State are being held in detention facilities and camps in northeast Syria, according to recent research by Amnesty International.

Along with grave abuses towards these populations, Amnesty says trials being carried out by the US-backed SDF and affiliated authorities rely on forced confessions to convict suspects for terrorism membership but not for individual crimes committed.

“Just like in Iraq, thousands of people have been tried on vague counter-terrorism charges, such as affiliation or membership,” said Nicolette Waldman, an advisor with Amnesty. “And just like in Iraq, not one person in this detention system has been held accountable for crimes under international law – including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”

Countries whose nationals fought for Islamic State have been slow to bring them home. Those who are repatriated are mainly women and their children.

With the exception of Germany, returning Islamic State members are often not charged with crimes committed while abroad, but only for joining a foreign terror organisation.

The absence of a holistic and coordinated international response represents “a colossal failure of the international community and the international justice system,” said Amnesty’s Waldman.

Proposals put forward by NGOs under the Coalition for Just Reparations and other advocates include a hybrid tribunal in Iraq in partnership with the UN, a mechanism through the UN General Assembly similar to what has been established for crimes in Syria, and other ideas.

“There are examples that exist, so it’s not too difficult now to learn from other courts,” said Silke Studzinsky, a German legal expert who represented victims at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and now works with the Kurdistan evidence-gathering body. But international political interest is very low.

“I would say since the war started in Ukraine, this [the Yazidi genocide] has been completely forgotten.”

“It’s really a pity,” she said, likening the tens of thousands of Islamic State members and their children languishing in camps and prisons, without meaningful justice or rehabilitation, to a “ticking bomb.”

https://www.newarab.com/analysis/has-ir ... i-genocide

Tara Brian is a freelance journalist. She previously worked as a researcher with the United Nations' migration agency.

Follow her on Twitter: @trbrian11
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 27, 2024 10:52 pm

Nearly 1,000 Yazidis repatriated

Around 1,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been repatriated to their homeland of Shingal (Sinjar) in coordination with relevant authorities a month before Iraqi plans to close all camps in the country

Iraq’s Ministry of Displacement and Migration repatriated 569 people from Sharia camp in Duhok, Kurdistan Region, to their homeland of Shingal (Sinjar) in Nineveh with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Nineveh Operations Command, Minister Evan Faeq Jabro told Rudaw on Thursday.

On Monday, the ministry also announced the return of 397 IDPs from Khanke camp in Duhok to Shingal.

“81 families… left Khanke informal site through our Facilitated Voluntary Movement programme, ensuring informed, safe, dignified movements from locations of displacements across [Iraq],” IOM Iraq announced in a post on X on Thursday.

The ministry’s Erbil office has increased efforts to implement Baghdad’s decision to close all IDP camps in the country, including in the Kurdistan Region, before July 30.

At the Lalish conference in Erbil on Tuesday, Germany’s Consul General Klaus Streicher said extending the deadline for camp closures could enable a safer and more effective repatriation process, preventing future relocations.

Many IDPs have been reluctant to return home. Some who voluntarily left camps to salvage their homes and livelihoods have been forced to return to camps, due to poor living conditions and infrastructure

Members of the Yazidi community have repeatedly shared that many people have left Sharia and other camps, instead of returning to their places of origin, taking dangerous and illegal routes to immigrate to Europe because of poor living conditions.

Mandira Sharma, a lawyer, and human rights defender, warned during the Lalish conference that the government could be held accountable for failing to protect IDPs after pushing them out of the camps and into a dangerous situation if they know their lives might be at risk.

Following the Islamic State (ISIS) takeover of large swathes of land in Iraq from 2014 to 2017, around 1.8 million Iraqis, predominantly from the Sunni-inhabited provinces and Baghdad, were sheltered in the Kurdistan Region.

Yazidis, a vulnerable population in Iraq, were subjected to countless heinous atrocities, including forced marriages, sexual violence, and massacres when ISIS captured Sinjar in 2014, bringing destruction to many villages and towns populated by the minority group. Many Yazidis were forced to flee to displacement camps across Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, where many still remain.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/27062024
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jul 03, 2024 7:21 pm

PM Barzani announces financial
    aid for 3,000 Yazidis
Kurdistan Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani announced a project set to provide financial support for 3,000 Yazidis, as the Kurdistan Region continues to shelter many from the minority group nearly 10 years on

“Although this year we are commemorating the ten years since the massacre of Shingal and its surroundings, unfortunately, the pains and suffering of the Yazidi people 10 years after the catastrophe have not ended,” said Barzani in a speech from Erbil on Tuesday.

According to the premier, the project will provide financial support to 3,000 Yazidi survivors of the Islamic State (ISIS), to improve their financial situation, offer job opportunities and ensure access to education and healthcare services.

Barzani highlighted that the KRG has made significant efforts to ease the suffering of families affected by ISIS and played a crucial role in rescuing those who were kidnapped by the terrorist group.

The premier thanked the international community for assisting the KRG in recognizing ISIS crimes against the Yazidis as genocide. He added that the Iraqi government has not adequately supported efforts to establish a special court or tribunal to prosecute ISIS criminals, which would provide a path to justice for survivors.

He attributed the presence of militia groups in Shingal as a key reason why residents have not been able to return to their homes.

Yazidis in Shingal were subjected to countless heinous atrocities, including forced marriages, sexual violence and massacres when ISIS captured their areas in 2014, bringing destruction to many villages and towns populated by the minority group. They were forced to flee to displacement camps predominantly in the Kurdistan Region and in Iraq, where many remain.

    Shingal has seen instability, insecurity and a lack of basic services after the city was declared liberated from ISIS in late 2015. Various armed groups have gained a foothold in the area, including Iran-backed militias and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), outside of the control of the KRG and Iraqi federal government
The Erbil office of the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration has increased efforts to implement Baghdad’s decision to close all IDP camps in the country, including in the Kurdistan Region, before July 30.

Human rights advocates have expressed concern about Iraq’s push to close the camps, saying all returns must be voluntary.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/020720243
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jul 06, 2024 12:07 am

Yezidis Face Obstacles Returning to Sinjar

Yezidi families returning from the camps of the Kurdistan Region to the district of Sinjar face numerous obstacles and problems. The most significant issues include the lack, or even the absence, of most services and the lack of security in the district, which has prompted many families to return to the region and discouraged others from returning to Sinjar altogether

After the Islamic State’s attacks on the Sinjar district in August 2014, and the crimes and genocide committed against the Yezidis, the majority of the district’s residents were displaced to the Kurdistan Region, where they have been residing in camps for the displaced for ten years. Some of them have also settled within the cities of the region.

The camps for the displaced in the Kurdistan Region did not receive the required support from the Iraqi federal government, while the regional government bore the burden alone.

    An official in the Supreme Authority of the Lalish Cultural and Social Center told BasNews that during ten years of displacement in the camps, Yezidis have suffered from harsh conditions, enduring the cold of winter, the heat of summer, and the spread of diseases among the displaced
“The federal government reached an agreement with the Kurdistan Region a while ago, and the time has come for the Sinjar district to enjoy stability and be transformed into a place suitable for the return of displaced people. The demographic change in the district must be stopped, and people must return to their land and homes. This concerns all parties, including the federal government, which had plans to return these displaced people.”

The agreement between Baghdad and Erbil, signed on October 9, 2020, stipulates the normalization of the situation in Sinjar and the joint administration of the district in administrative, security, and service aspects. However, this agreement has not been implemented yet due to political reasons.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its allies in the Popular Mobilization Forces militias are still exerting pressure on the federal government not to implement the agreement signed during the era of former Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and in the presence of the United Nations.

Implementing this agreement is also part of the agenda of the government of Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani.

“The Iraqi federal government did not provide any assistance to us in the camps, and when we returned to Sinjar, our homes were destroyed, and we did not find a place to stay,” a Yezidi displaced in the camps of the Kurdistan Region told BasNews.

He continued sarcastically about the amount that Baghdad promised to provide to the families returning to Sinjar.

    “What can we do with 4 million dinars (about 3 thousand dollars)? It is not possible to build a house with 4 million dinars, not even a single room, and we do not know whether it is safe or not.”
“The majority of the displaced families are still here and have not returned to Sinjar. Why should we return? Our living conditions here are better than there. Everyone here, from young children to the elderly, finds job opportunities, whether in agriculture or elsewhere,” another displaced Yezidi added.

Regarding the security situation, he stated, “Here in the Kurdistan Region, no one attacks us. The Peshmerga provide us with protection and safety, but in Sinjar, you are vulnerable to being killed at any moment.”

According to the KRG Ministry of Interior, the 23 camps spread across the region currently host about 157,000 people, many of whom are from Sinjar.

Earlier this year, the Iraqi federal government announced that they will close down all the IDP camps across Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region.

    However, last week, Kurdistan Region’s Interior Minister Rebar Ahmed told reporters that the KRG won’t implement Baghdad’s plan and won’t force refugees to go back to their homeland, allowing the refugees to make their own decisions.
https://www.basnews.com/en/babat/852974
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