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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 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:18 pm

Iraq court rules Yezidis must have greater representation in parliament

Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court has ruled that the Yezidi minority must have more seats in the country’s parliament, reflective of the size of the community.

“The decision has been made that the Yezidi minority deserves the number of seats that corresponds with their population in parliamentary elections according to reliable official statistics based on article 1/49 of the constitution, which states that the parliament consists of representatives, one seat per one hundred thousand population,” the court announced in a statement on Wednesday.

Currently, there is just one Yezidi member of parliament.

MP Vian Dakhil helped to draw international attention to the Yezidi genocide when she made an impassioned plea in the parliament for help when Yezidis were fleeing their homes around Shingal as ISIS militants moved into the area.

She welcomed the court decision, stating that this means there should be five Yezidi representatives in the parliament as the minority numbers more than 500,000 in Iraq.

The Yezidi activist group Yazda reacted to the ruling, stating “We hope that all blocs in parliament and our friends and partners push for implementing this ruling,” not only to increase Yezidi quotas in the parliament but on provincial councils as well.

The executive director of Yazda, Murad Ismael, recently expressed anger over the matter, saying it was “discriminatory” that the community had just one parliamentary seat.

In a series of tweets in late December, Ismael argued that failures to bring justice to the Yezidi community that suffered genocide under ISIS were connected to unfair representation of the minority within Iraq’s institutions.

“Iraq has 4000+ general directors and 700+ ministers by position, yet there is only about 5 Yezidis in all these positions. The Iraqi system has never been fair to Yezidis and this has to change after this Genocide!” he tweeted.

Rights groups have noted many flaws in Iraq's prosecution of ISIS militants, including leaving victims out of the justice process. Dakhil has slammed the government for failing to invest in reconstruction of Yezidi communities ravaged by war. There have also been reports of revenge killings of persons allegedly involved in crimes against Yezidis.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/100120181
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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 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:24 pm

Exhibition in Brussels on the Yazidi community in Iraq :ymhug:
Christopher Vincent - The Brussels Times

The Yazidis in Northern Iraq have suffered many persecutions, most recently by the Islamic State (Da'esh).

An exhibition which opens on 13 January puts the community in the limelight. Da'esh's acts of terror from 2014 onwards have been the most gruesome manifestation of internal violence so far and they targeted in particular the Yazidi religious minority.

The exhibition, "The Yazidis, a people between exile and resistance", is organised by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the NGO ULB-Cooperation. It brings together photographs and texts on the crimes perpetrated by Da'esh.

The exhibition can be seen from January 13 to February 21 at Espace Architecture La Cambre Horta, Place Flagey in Ixelles.

The exhibition is the result of several years of work by two journalists, Johanna Tessières and Christophe Lamfalussy, and includes filmed interviews of ULB professors. Their expertise allows the public to understand the Yazidis. The floor is also given to members of the Yazidi community.

The Yazidi population has been decimated during Da'esh’s terror regime. Thousands of women were abducted and kept in sexual slavery. Men were executed and many children were indoctrinated and converted into child soldiers.

Some 420,000 people fled and found refuge in mainly Iraqi Kurdistan or abroad. In Belgium, there are between 35,000 and 45,000 Yazidis, mainly settled in Liège.

The European Commission writes in a recent document (8 January) on a strategy for support to Iraq that the Iraqi Government has agreed under UN Security Council resolution 2379(2017) to hold Da'esh accountable for its actions in Iraq.

A UN team will be deployed to Iraq to collect, preserve, and store evidence of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the terrorist group in Iraq.

http://www.brusselstimes.com/brussels/1 ... ty-in-iraq
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:43 pm

Yazidi Children Rescued From IS Getting Psychological Help

Dozens of Yazidi children who have been rescued from the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria are now receiving counseling to cope with and recover from the trauma they experienced during their years in captivity.

At Qadiya refugee camp near the Iraqi Kurdistan Region's northern city of Duhok, more than 100 Yazidi boys and girls aged between 4 and 13, who were kidnapped by IS in August 2014, are getting assistance to recover from the psychological harm they sustained under IS control.

The children were smuggled out of IS-controlled territories in Iraq and Syria in recent months.

Most of the boys were trained by IS to engage in militancy, while many girls were sexually abused.

Zahid Suhail, 12, is one of the boys who was indoctrinated with IS extremist ideology in Iraq and sent to Syria for military training when he was just 9 years old.

"I was first sent to a military camp in Tal Afar for three months and later transferred to a military camp in Mosul," Suhail told VOA.

"I received religious training on the Quran, creed, and the main obligations. They later arranged a test, which I passed," he added.

While in Mosul, Suhail said, he also was taught Arabic and was prevented from using his native Kurdish language. He is still unable to speak Kurdish. His family and psychiatrists are trying to help him to recover his native tongue.

After finishing his religious training, Suhail was sent to the eastern Syrian city of Deir el-Zour, where he was trained for fighting.

"Someone called Abu Khatab al-Iraqi took me to Syria. They sent me to a group of [IS] special forces in a military camp near the airport of Deir el-Zour," Suhail said.

'Cubs of the caliphate'

Suhail told VOA that shortly after finishing his military training, he was made a member of a group of IS child recruits known as the "cubs of the caliphate."

There is no official data on how many children were schooled and trained by IS since 2014, but human rights organizations estimate the number to be in the thousands.

In Iraq, the government's counterterrorism program has listed about 2,000 children as having been potentially influenced or brainwashed by Islamic State ideology.

Many of those child recruits died while fighting on behalf of IS in the last year. An IS video released in February 2017 showed two teenage Yazidi brothers purportedly blowing up their explosives-laden vehicles in an attack on Iraqi forces in Mosul.

Psychologists at Qadiya refugee camp said Suhail was fortunate to have been smuggled out of Deir el-Zour, because IS fought a losing battle against the Syrian army and its allied forces last October.

Now their job is to help him overcome the mental stress and health effects caused by years of IS indoctrination.

"They brainwashed him for 3½ years and, in many ways, made him act exactly like one of them," Naeef Jardo, a psychiatrist at the camp, told VOA. "We are working hard to bring him back to normal."

Jardo is among several specialists at the camp who are working to help rehabilitate the children.

French organization Yahad In-Unum is funding the children's recovery and reintegration process.

In addition to psychological counseling, the camp provides several recreational activities and learning programs to help the children learn new skills.

Jardo said the younger children have shown a lot of improvement, while those older than 9 might need a longer period of treatment, particularly traumatized girls who were sexually abused.

One of the girls at the camp, Madeha Ibrahim, 13, said she was still in shock from the horrors she suffered at the hands of IS as a sex slave.

"Abu Usuf raped me and beat me a lot with a hose," she told VOA while recalling the story of her enslavement by an IS fighter in Mosul. "He tortured me a lot."

Ibrahim said she was later sold to another IS fighter of Turkish origin.

"The Turkish [IS member] grabbed my ponytail and hit my head on the wall three times until I became unconscious," she added.

'I offered to convert'

Evana Hassan, another 13-year-old girl at the camp, told VOA she experienced similar abuse from an IS fighter because she refused to convert to Islam.

"He told me, 'I will sell you.' I suffered a lot from being sold to different people. I told him, 'Don't sell me. I will convert to your religion.' "

Hassan said the IS fighter repeatedly raped her at age 12, claiming she had reached the age of sexual maturity.

"When I turned 12 years old, he told me, 'You have reached the age of marriage. I will marry you now,' " Hassan said.

The camp organizers said that while they would continue to care for the 108 rescued boys and girls, they were prepared to receive more children as they were found across Iraq and Syria.

Yazidi organizations say about 3,000 Yazidis, mostly women and children, remain missing even as IS has lost most of its enclaves in Iraq and Syria.

"We are continuously welcoming new survivors at our camp," Khalaf Alias of Yahad In-Unum told VOA. "We expect hundreds more children to be found."

Alias said it would most likely take years for the children to recover and that more international support would be needed to help the Yazidi community in Iraq.

"Those children have gone through a lot of suffering. They deserve more attention from everyone," Alias said.

Link to Article - Photos - Video:

https://www.voanews.com/a/yazidi-childr ... 04528.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:49 pm

Rising Stars Topline French Debut Feature About Female Kurdish Warriors

Caroline Fourest, the respected French journalist, documentary filmmaker and feminist champion, is set to make her feature debut with “Red Snake,” an action-packed political film revolving around a battalion of Kurdish female warriors and international volunteers. The film, currently in pre-production, is being produced by Léo Maidenberg at Place du Marché and Jad Ben Ammar (the son of Tarak Ben Ammar) at Kador.

Inspired by true events, the film follows the story of Zara, a young Yazidi woman who is kidnapped and sold as a sex slave to an Isis fighter. Zara manages to escape and joins a battalion of fearless women from all over the world called the Snake brigade.

Through her journey, Zara bonds with other women, such as the nurturing Lina, who takes Zara under her wing; Kenza, a spunky French-Algerian; Clarisse, a religious African-American nicknamed “American Sniper”; and Yael, a French-Israeli who joins the squad as a nurse.

Although they hail from different backgrounds, the women all share a troubled or traumatic past that fuels their urge to accomplish one goal: bring down the fanatics who are raping and enslaving women and radicalizing the local youth. These female warriors are able to scare off Isis fighters who believe they will not get to heaven if they are killed by a woman. :ymparty:

Fourest has assembled a strong international cast headlined by rising stars Dilan Gwyn (“Beyond”) and Camélia Jordana (“Some Like It Veiled”), as well as Jasmine Trinca (“The Gunman”), Razane Jammal (“Djinn”) and Mark Ryder (“Borgia”). Korkmaz Arslan (“My Sweet Pepper Land”), Nanna Blondell (“Hassel”), Amira Casar (“Call Me by Your Name”) and Golshifteh Farahani (“Paterson”) complete the cast.

Fourest, who has directed as many as 21 socially and politically engaged documentaries, said she started developing “Red Snake” following the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January 2015. Fourest wrote the script based on meetings and conversations with dozens of Yazidi survivors and Kurdish warriors, Peshmergas (members of the armed forces in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish-controlled region) or from the guerilla.

“I was inspired by all these brave women from different parts of the world who have voluntarily joined the Kurdish resistance against Isis, and how these sisters of combat are rejecting the status of victims and fighting back,” Fourest said.

“It’s a story about the power of women which I think will strike a chord in our society – these female fighters won the last worldwide war for us,” added Fourest, who was made Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in France, one of the country’s highest honors.

Describing “Red Snake” as a “Zero Dark Thirty” meets “Land and Freedom,” Fourest said the idea was to deliver a political film with strong female figures, action scenes and a coming-of-age element which will be universal enough to appeal to international audiences. The movie will shoot in English, French, Kurdish and Arabic, and is meant to have a stylized look thanks to a crew that includes cinematographer Romain Lacourbas (“Marco Polo,” “Colombiana,” “Taken 2”).

“Red Snake” has been pre-bought by French pubcaster France 2 and Italian distribution company Eagle. The producers are in talks with sales agents and distributors in France.

Shooting is expected to start in February.

http://variety.com/2018/film/news/carol ... 202659570/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:53 pm

Persecution Of Yazidis Persists Despite Islamic State Collapse

Over 3,000 Yazidi women remain unaccounted for

Despite the fall of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, no justice appears on the horizon for the Yazidis, who were brutally targeted for mass destruction by the terror group. Over 3,000 members of the faith—which incorporates elements of the three major monotheistic religions—are still missing, with many believed to have been killed by ISIS or still be in captivity. This, as thousands of others who have returned home remain in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

The demise of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate can be traced back to the liberation of Mosul, Iraq, in July 2017, which was followed by the recapture of ISIS’s de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria in October. Beneath the ruins memories of the terror group’s rapid rise and crimes are buried, along with many Yazidis, whose villages in and around Sinjar—located in Iraqi Kurdistan—were initially besieged in August 2014. Since then, Yazidi men have been serially executed, with women and children sold off to ISIS fighters in slave markets. These horrors perpetrated by the Islamic State were the first to garner widespread media attention and, in turn, become etched into the world’s collective consciousness.

Though ISIS has suffered significant setbacks, having lost more than 90 percent of its territory, this has not put an end to Yazidi suffering. “The genocide is ongoing and the situation is just getting worse because of political [instability],” according Ahmed Burjus, Deputy Executive Director of the Yazda human rights organization dedicated to helping the minority group. Referring to the over 3,000 missing Yazidis, he confirmed to The Media Line that some “are still [alive and in the possession] of ISIS in Turkey and other countries.” Others have been barbarically slaughtered, as evidenced by the “sixteen mass graves that were just found in Sinjar.”

Burjus stressed that there are many obstacles preventing aid organizations from attending to thousands of freed Yazidis. “With the great influx of Yazidi victims, we are asking anti-ISIS organizations and the [Iraqi] government to intervene, but no serious action is being taken.” Therefore, Yazda is forced to “work with overseas humanitarian organizations which recognize the cause,” with relocation efforts being facilitated by a limited amount of countries such as Canada and Australia.

Notably, Burjus claimed, “not one ISIS militant has been prosecuted” even though the organization’s gross rights violations are well documented. In this respect, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) previously concluded that ISIS’ abuse of Yazidis amounted to crimes against humanity. As recently as this past August, The United Nations Assistance for Iraq issued a report, in conjunction with the OHCHR, highlighting the ongoing plight of those Yazidis captured and sexually exploited by the Islamic State.

Azzat Alsaleem, a Yazidi activist, echoed these sentiments, telling The Media Line that while “many Yazidis [are in areas that have been] liberated, some [still] live in homes belonging to the Islamic State and Iraq is not prepared to search for them.” He added that “many Sunni families have kept Yazidis as hostages, implanting them with a fear that Iraqi forces will kill them.

“ISIS terrorists and numerous Muslim families from Mosul have taken many Yazidis with them to places like Turkey and Baghdad,” Alsaleem elaborated. “Either they make fake IDs or have connections with corrupt officers in the Iraqi government. Family members lack the money in which to reclaim Yazidi hostages as they have lost everything. A few days ago, A Yazidi father was forced to take a loan in order to free his daughters who had been enslaved for over three years.”

For his part, U.S. soldier Michael Ledford, who fought against ISIS in Iraqi Kurdistan, was exposed to the hardships endured by the Yazidis and later co-founded The Yazidi Times Facebook group to support their cause. His activism has allowed for multiple missing Yazidis to be located and “help[ed] a few Yazidis flee Iraq to Germany and the U.S.” Ledford added that while some 800 Yazidis currently live in Nebraska alone, “he failed to obtain government support.” In this respect, he further contended that both private relief groups and public bodies, including the KRG, have “become greedy and money [is] more important than the women and children.”

Sufyan Hammo, a Yazidi Public Relations Officer at Yazidi Human Rights Organization International, stressed to The Media Line from Sinjar that there is a “need [for] urgent help.” The U.S.-led coalition forces “have not liberated any Yazidi girls,” he asserted, while those who have returned “need major psychological treatment, medical injections for those who have been raped as well as abortions. Some Yazidi girls gave birth to one or two children while in ISIS captivity, yet never raised those kids because of the [associated] trauma.

“How do we have a future in Sinjar,” he questioned, “how can one Yazidi girl, who was raped more than 100 times in her village, return home and remember what happened?”

Hammo, like many activists, believes the Yazidi community has no future in Iraq unless the international community intervenes to provide the minority group with protections and assistance. Otherwise, he predicted the Yazidi population will continue to dwindle.

(Daniella P. Cohen is a Student Intern in The Media Line’s Press and Policy Student Program)

http://www.themedialine.org/human-right ... -collapse/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:22 pm

'Life has returned': Iraqi Yazidis celebrate restoration of temple destroyed by ISIS

Northern Iraq's Yazidi community that suffered so terribly under IS group persecution celebrated on Friday as it inaugurated a restored temple to the sound of traditional drums and flutes.

Overlooked by conical domes of polished stone, hundreds of men in dishdasha robes and women veiled in white gathered at the site which was blown up by the rampaging jihadists in 2014.

The temple at Bashiqa was one of 68 Yazidi temples destroyed by IS, officials said -- and one of the last of 23 in the region to be restored.

Iraq's Kurdish-speaking Yazidis adhere to a faith that emerged in Mesopotamia more than 4,000 years ago.

It is rooted in Zoroastrianism but has over time integrated elements of both Islam and Christianity.

Yazidis pray to God facing the sun and worship his seven angels -- the most important of which is Melek Taus, or Peacock Angel.

The Yazidi community in Iraq comprised some 550,000 people before it was scattered by the IS offensive.

Click on image to enlarge
885

Orthodox Muslims consider the peacock to be a demon figure and refer to Yazidis as devil-worshippers.

The jihadists murdered Yazidis in their thousands in 2014 and abducted thousands of women and teenage girls to make them sex slaves.

According to the religious affairs ministry in Iraqi Kurdistan, some 360,000 Yazidis were displaced by the fighting with 100,000 leaving the country.

Of 6,417 Yazidis reported kidnapped by the jihadists, just 3,207 have been rescued or managed to escape their captors. Half of those still missing are women and girls, the ministry said.

It also said that to date 47 mass graves of Yazidis massacred by IS have been discovered.

UN investigators have said the IS assault on the Yazidis was a premeditated effort to exterminate an entire community -- crimes that amount to genocide.

Friday's ceremony at the temple in the Bashiqa area some 15 kilometres (nine miles) east of Iraq's second city Mosul was an act of both revival and defiance.

"This ceremony shows that life has returned despite the terrorism of IS and its bloody attacks," said 21-year-old Jihan Sinan.

Around her, families posed for pictures as traditional dishes and sweets were handed out and celebrants danced to the tunes of traditional flutes.

Religious leader Ali Rashwakari, 72, urged the international community to help "rebuild the temples and Yazidi regions" of Iraq.

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/life-has-re ... oyed-by-is
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:32 pm

8-year-old Yazidi girl reveals psychological trauma ISIS captives face

She was 5 when she was taken as a slave by ISIS. Now, at the age of 8, even after being rescued from the so-called Islamic State, she keeps her black clothes thinking "maybe Dawla (ISIS) comes back (sic)".The 8-year-old Yazidi girl is one of thousands who were captured and ensla

The 8-year-old Yazidi girl is one of thousands who were captured and enslaved by ISIS.

Who are Yazidis?

Yazidis are one of Iraq's oldest minorities who are predominantly ethnically Kurdish. Around 7,00,000 people are Yazidi in the world with majority of them concentrated in Northern Iraq. According to a UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry, ISIS' violence against the Yazidis constitutes a case of genocide. The Yazidis had been denounced as infidels by Al-Qaida in Iraq, a predecessor of ISIS.

Jenan Moussa, a journalist working with Arabic Al Aan TV, shared the story of this 8-year-old Yazidi girl she met recently, in a series of tweets.

I want to tell u today the story of 8yr old Yazidi girl, forced to work for 3yrs as slave by ISIS fighters in Raqqa. I met her in Kobani.
- Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) July 16, 2017


The girl was forced to work for three years as a slave by ISIS fighters in Raqqa. She was freed by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) a while back but her brother is still an ISIS slave.

She is particularly scared of Toyota Hilux cars because it reminds her of ISIS. The young girl is traumatised and scared of men. When she was taken shopping by Jenan and some other Kurdish women, she wanted to wear a colourful dress. Having worn "full black abaya and niqab" for three years, her dream dress was all about colours.

The Yazidi girl was very silent, scared of men &of Toyota Hilux cars because it reminded her of ISIS. It was heartbreaking to see.
- Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) July 16, 2017


The 8-year-old girl lived with a terrorist organisation during her formative years. She might have experienced torture or seen others going through it. Terror would have been something that remained a constant. She did not even respond to her original Kurdish name as she got used to the name ISIS gave her.

While shopping, she asked for an "Islamic nail polish (temporary nail polish u take off before prayer (sic))". The Kurdish women told her that she does not need Islamic nail polish anymore. Since ISIS is not in Kobani, Syria, she does not have follow their lifestyle. She does not have to pray five times a day or cover up her head.

After we went shop in shop out in Kobane souk, she found the perfect yellow dress. Look at her (I blurred pic to protect her identity). pic.twitter.com/SsnKz87f1s
- Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) July 16, 2017


The girl decided to buy a pink nail paint.

While passing through a shop named after Aylan Kurdi, the young girl was surprised to see unveiled mannequins. She even went to touch their faces.

We passed shop named after Alan Kurdi (drowned boy from Kobani). Yazidi girl surprised by unveiled mannequins, she touched their faces pic.twitter.com/H64X1t3xQC
- Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) July 16, 2017


The girl is currently and temporarily living with a Kurdish family in Kobani. She found her "first friend" in the daughter of that family and even bought a present for her "new friend".

"I am happy now", she said while going back from the souk.

Kurdish family that Yazidi girl is staying with has daughter. "My first friend," she said. Got toy for her in bag. Really touching 2 see pic.twitter.com/Qcq6bTzpsr
- Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) July 16, 2017


She might be reunited with her father soon as the Kurds in Kobani have traced and contacted the father of the Yazidi girl who is in Iraq's Sinjar. However, the girl's brother is still a slave with ISIS and their mother remains missing.

The girl's family is not the only one to be displaced.

According to a study in weekly journal PLOS Medicine, an estimated 9,900 Yazidis were killed or captured in 2014 alone. Out of these, 3,100 were murdered by either being executed by gunshot or beheaded or burnt alive. Scores of people are said to have been forced into sex slavery.

https://www.indiatoday.in/fyi/story/yaz ... 2017-07-17
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:18 am

Armenia Officially Condemns Yazidi Genocide
Calls for the Perpetrators to Be Held Accountable

Armenia’s National Assembly voted on Tuesday to officially condemn the Yazidi Genocide perpetrated by ISIS/ISIL and other terrorist groups in Iraq. The resolution, supported by all four parliamentary factions, was adopted with 91 votes for and none against (one abstention).

The resolution emphasizes efforts of the international community aimed at implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and highlights the responsibility of states to respect the rights of ethnic and religious minorities stipulated by international law.

The resolution also reiterates Armenia’s commitment to fight to prevent genocides and other crimes against humanity and calls for an investigation of the crimes against the Yazidi people through international structures and hold the perpetrators accountable.

Following the adoption of the resolution, Yazidi human rights activist and UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking Nadia Murad said this was a historic moment for the worldwide Yazidi community and for the genocide victims and their families.

“I am touched by today’s decision and I would like to express my gratitude to the people of Armenia and their representatives in Parliament. Acknowledgment of the genocide means a lot to me and all the victims of genocide,” Murad said.

Murad Ismael, the Executive Director of Yazda—a multinational Yazidi global organization established in the aftermath of the Yazidi Genocide—called the genocide “the latest capital crime of our century.” “The world should recognize this crime and accept the fact it happened, not only recognize it, but take the steps to stop it and adopt mechanisms to ensure it will not be repeated in the future,” said Ismael.

In a joint statement, both Murad and Ismael also expressed their gratitude to Armenia’s Standing Committee on Foreign Relations, Yazidi Member of Parliament Rustam Makhmudyan, leader of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) parliamentary faction Vahram Baghdasaryan, the leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) faction Armen Rustamyan, as well as the Tsarukyan and Yelk factions.

It is estimated that over 50,000 Yazidis live in Armenia, making them the country’s largest ethnic minority. Thousands of Yazidis immigrated to a part of the Russian Empire spanning present-day Armenia and Georgia during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Escaping religious persecution from Ottoman Turks and Sunni Kurds, many Yazidis were killed alongside Armenians during the Armenian Genocide.

Two villages in Armenia’s Armavir Province—Yeraskhahun and Ferik—are inhabited predominantly by Yazidis. In 2012, the Yazidi community opened the first temple outside their “Lalish” homeland (in Iraq)—the temple of Ziarat, in the Aknalich village of Armenia, approximately 22 miles outside of Yerevan.

Subsequently, in the summer of 2016, reportedly the world’s largest Yazidi temple was said to be in the process of being built in Aknalich. The temple, named Quba Mere Diwane, is being built from Armenian granite and Iranian marble and will house a 200 square meter prayer hall.

https://armenianweekly.com/2018/01/16/a ... countable/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:25 pm

Shengal: Êzidxan stands with Afrin, we are ready to do our part

Shengal Executive Council protested the threats and attacks against Afrin by the Turkish state and said, “Everybody should know that the Êzîdxan stands with Afrin. We are prepared to do our part for Afrin.”

Shengal Executive Council issued a written statement on the Turkish state’s attacks and threats against Afrin and said the following:

“The AKP state and Erdogan are afraid of the development of democracy and coexistence of peoples in the Middle East, and in particular in areas where Êzidî people live, and consider these to be the end of them. That is why now they are attacking Rojava. Since the people of Rojava started to fight for their freedom, fascist Erdogan and his government have been threatening and attacking. They are playing every trick to hinder and take down the Northern Syrian Federation. They don’t accept peoples governing themselves and having authority anywhere. They also objected to the people of Shengal forming their system and government and carried out various attacks.

Today the people of Rojava possess a will, and that frightens fascist Erdogan and his government. He can’t stomach that. So he first attacked the Êzidî villages in Efrîn. Looking at recent history, it can be seen that millions of Êzidîs in Bakurê (Northern) Kurdistan have had to immigrate due to dozens of decrees of genocides and the genocide by the Turkish state against Êzidî society.

Even now, he targets places Êzidîs live and wants to carry out a genocide. The Turkish state pushed Êzidîs out of Bakurê Kurdistan, and is now attacking Êzidîs in Shengal and Rojava. Erdogan is as much an enemy of Êzidî society’s faith and religion as he is of democracy.

As the Shengal Executive Council, we condemn fascist Erdogan and his government. We state that we stand with our people in Rojava and Afrin in particular. Like Rojava defended us in the dark days, now this duty falls on our shoulders. With a spirit of mobilization, we must defend Afrin with all our might. Everybody should know that Êzidxan (Ezidi land) stands with Afrin. We are prepared to do our part for Afrin.”
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:16 am

Yazidis in Turkey camp wish for ISIS captives to return home

New Year's celebrations this year were hardly a joyful occasion for the nearly 1,000 Yazidis who are living in the refugee camp of the Disaster and Emergency Affairs Department (AFAD) in Midyat, near Mardin in southeastern Turkey. Their wish for the new year: that the Yazidi women and children, who have been kidnapped by Islamic State (ISIS) fighters, come back alive.

The Yazidis, who speak Kurdish and most of whom live in northern Iraq, have faced genocide in the past, including during the Ottoman Empire. Considered heretical devil worshipping by many Muslims, Yazidism dates back to the 12th century and integrates some Islamic beliefs with elements of Zoroastrianism, the ancient Persian religion, and Mithraism, a mystery religion originating in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Isolated geographically and accustomed to discrimination, the Yazidis are a closed community that struggles to keep its traditions alive. When ISIS forces captured Sinjar in 2014, many Yazidis were forced to escape to Turkey or Europe.

Those living in the AFAD camp try to preserve their heritage. The cornerstone of their culture is Cejna Roji Ezi, or Feast of Ezi, where they celebrate the birth of “Ezi,” one of the names of God. The Yazidis celebrate this tradition by fasting between sunrise and sunset during three days for three weeks. Their fast in the first week is for the sun; the second week is for relatives, dead or alive; and the third week is for God. The fasting ceremony ends with a large meal with guests on the Friday afternoon of the third week.

The Cejna Roja Ezi ceremony in the last month of 2017 was no different at the AFAD camp.

Ali Atalan, a pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy from Batman, who is also Yazidi, came to see the Yazidis in the camp. Accompanied by a Yazidi delegation, his aim was to celebrate the meal together. Yet the camp authorities did not allow him access into the camp, with no explanation given, he told Al-Monitor. The two Yazidi groups, one outside the fence and one inside, simply greeted each other from a distance.

“It was a very touching moment,” Atalan said. “Yazidis have a different interpretation of religion as they have a deep attachment to the land and to nature and they celebrate their feasts in nature. Families come together; they wear their folkloric clothing and play games. The circumstances in the camp hardly make their lifestyle possible.”

Atalan noted that the Yazidis in the camp had been through genocide and that they have to be treated well, particularly on important holidays that they should be allowed to celebrate with others.

When Atalan could not celebrate the feast in the camp, he went to his own village, Bacin, which in Turkish is called “Guven,” literally meaning "trust." It is a village with only two residents left: his father Abuzet and his mother Zero. “It is just the three of us in the family,” he said.

Atalan said that his mother's wish is for the new year to witness the return of the Yazidi women and children who are in the hands of IS. He added, “I hope that the Yazidis can create an autonomous administration in Sinjar, with their own governing structures and economy. This would be the Renaissance for the Yazidis. My hope is that the Yazidis and the Yazidi culture will continue to survive.”

The Turkish government, issued no celebratory message for Cejna Roja Ezi. However, another Yazidi deputy from the HDP, Feleknas Uca, extended a goodwill message from the rostrum in the Turkish parliament, saying, “I hope that the Yazidi women and children in the hands of ISIS will return."

She added a prayer in the Yazidi language: “I came before God and saw beauty and happiness. Everything starts with unity.”

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origin ... ldren.html

OVER 3,000 YAZIDI WOMEN AND CHILDREN REMAIN CAPTIVES OF ISIS
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:14 pm

Replaying the Holocaust in the Middle East

THE LAST GIRL

My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State
By Nadia Murad with Jenna Krajeski


How to approach a memoir of a war still being waged? “The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State” contains open wounds and painful lessons, as the Yazidi activist Nadia Murad learns how her own story can become a weapon against her — co-opted for any number of political agendas. In August 2014 Islamic State militants besieged her village of Kocho in northern Iraq. They executed nearly all the men and older women — including Murad’s mother and six brothers — and buried them in mass graves. The younger women, Murad among them, were kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery. Raped, tortured and exchanged among militants, 21-year-old Murad finds an escape route when she is sold to a jihadist in Mosul who leaves a front door unlocked. She flees into Kurdistan by posing as the wife of a Sunni man, Nasser, who risks everything to escort her to safety.

Just when Murad, and the reader, expect a flood of relief, there is another sinister turn: Murad and Nasser are detained by Kurdish officials who force them to testify about their escape with cameras rolling. The officials are eager to hear how peshmerga fighters from a rival Kurdish faction — the two groups fought a civil war in the 1990s — had abandoned the Yazidi communities they were supposed to protect. The officials swear no one will ever see the tape, but it appears on the news that same night, putting Nasser and his family in grave danger. “I was quickly learning that my story, which I still thought of as a personal tragedy, could be someone else’s political tool,” Murad writes.

Freed from captivity, Murad remains trapped inside politics. To publish “The Last Girl” right now, in the United States, means there are tricky issues of sensationalism to navigate; in a threatening climate of Islamophobia, Muslims of all kinds are vilified for the actions of one group. Yet Murad, and the team of translators and writers with whom she worked, hedge against this response with a book intricate in historical context. Visible throughout are the disastrous legacies of the American intervention that dismantled Baathist institutions and bred a generation of Iraqis raised on violence and with few prospects. In a childhood flashback, a young Nadia receives a ring from one of the many American soldiers who arrived in Kocho in the mid-2000s bearing trinkets and empty promises. During the Iraq war, Yazidis became increasingly isolated from their Sunni Arab neighbors, caught in cross hairs of sectarianism in the wake of the “coalition of the willing.”

“The Last Girl” is also a primer on the ancient Yazidi faith that sustains Murad throughout her ordeal: its creation myths, visions of the afterlife and idiosyncratic customs. (Many Yazidis avoid eating lettuce, and consider blue a color too holy for humans to wear.) Yazidis pray to Tawusi Melek, an archangel who, at the creation, took the form of a peacock, and painted a desolate earth with the colors of his feathers. Over the centuries, misunderstandings surrounding the mysterious religion have fueled genocide — 73 times, Murad writes, a figure eerily exact. According to a pernicious myth, Tawusi Melek refused to bow before Adam and was condemned to hell, echoing Satan’s behavior in the Quran. Branding them “devil worshipers,” ISIS legitimized the massacre and enslavement of Yazidis, singling them out among Iraq’s many minorities for particularly inhumane treatment.

“I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine,” Murad concludes. Despite recent gains against ISIS in Iraq, many Yazidis still remain in captivity. As a story that hasn’t yet ended, “The Last Girl” is difficult to process. It is a call to action, but as it places Murad’s tragedy in the larger narrative of Iraqi history and American intervention, it leaves the reader with urgent, incendiary questions:

What have we done, and what can we do?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/book ... -girl.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:35 pm

This Man Has Freed Hundreds Of Yazidis Captured By ISIS
Thousands Remain Missing

Please click on image to enlarge
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Abdullah Shrim, a former beekeeper, is credited with rescuing more than 300 Yazidi women and children held captive by ISIS

Abdullah Shrim's phone almost never stops ringing. Most of the calls and messages are from other Yazidis asking for help to find their relatives. Others are from people threatening to kill him.

Shrim, a gregarious man with a ready smile, so far has rescued 338 members of the Yazidi religious group held captive by ISIS — almost all of them from Syria. It's a long way from his background as a beekeeper and businessman.

ISIS May Be Gone, But Yazidis Fearful Of Returning To Their Home Town

"I didn't think for a moment that I could be involved in the rescue field, to save someone," says Shrim, 43, at his home in a village near the city of Dohuk in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

ISIS roared into Yazidi towns near Mount Sinjar, in northern Iraq, in August 2014, on a mission to exterminate people who the militants considered unbelievers.

The Yazidis, an ancient religious minority, were left to defend themselves as Kurdish forces retreated. Hundreds of men were killed and estimates of more than 6,000 Yazidis — mostly women, taken as sex slaves, and children — kidnapped.

Months after ISIS was driven out of most of Iraq and Syria, half of the Yazidi captives are still missing. Some have been killed while others are believed to have been taken to Turkey by ISIS or sold to human trafficking rings. Shrim and others, though, believe that hundreds of the captives are still alive and in Syria.

A call from a niece begging for help

Shrim himself had 56 relatives taken prisoner. A few months after they were kidnapped, one of his nieces managed to call him from Raqqa, a former ISIS stronghold in Syria, begging for help. Shrim had lived and worked in the Syrian city of Aleppo and he turned to his contacts there.

"I called my friends there and asked what can I do to save them?" he says. "They advised me to cooperate with cigarette smugglers. ISIS considers cigarettes haram [forbidden under Islam] ... so people who smuggle cigarettes are used to a lot of danger."

Shrim and other Yazidis and Kurds set up a network. At first he went into Syria himself in areas controlled by sympathetic Syrian Kurds. But after disputes between Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish parties, that became impossible. Then ISIS expelled Kurds living in Raqqa. After that, Shrim says they had to rely on Arab Syrians to help them — and the rescues became more difficult.

Secret bread delivery informants

The price of getting each woman and girl back went from under $3,000 to about $15,000. U.S. and Iraqi forces refused to get involved in rescuing the captured civilians. Money for the rescue operations has come mostly from private donations from Kurdistan, Europe and the United States.

"Maybe 2 percent of the money goes to ISIS," Shrim says. "The money goes to rent houses, we buy bakeries and shops. Those who are helping us might ask for money. If someone is killed working for us we give money to their family. If another wants to get married, we help him get married. ... No one gives you information without asking for something."

He says now that ISIS is almost gone he can talk about the rescue methods. They included a bakery with informants delivering bread to determine whether there were Yazidi women and children inside the customers' homes. Women were sent door-to-door, selling chocolate or clothing to gain entry to houses where they could see women with their faces uncovered. When they found the women they were looking for, they would agree on a plan to help them escape.

It was so dangerous, he says five men and a young woman working with the network in Syria were executed by ISIS after being caught.

"I felt the saddest about the woman," Shrim says. "She was fearless, the toughest fighter I had. She was killed after we sent her to rescue a girl we were talking to on the phone, but the girl was being watched by ISIS."

Shrim notes that boys in the region are valued much more than girls. He says he's learned differently.

"Our Eastern society thinks that women can't do anything ... but when I started breeding bees I saw that the whole bee kingdom was ruled by female bees," he says. "I wish one day, the world would be ruled by women and not men."

Regular death threats

He says ISIS sends him regular death threats — attaching photos of him next to his car in Dohuk to let him know they know where to find him.

"But I think my life is worth nothing compared to a tear from the eye of a 12-year-old girl who has been raped," he says.

A Yazidi tomb in a village in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Many families were displaced when ISIS killed hundreds of men and kidnapped thousands of women and children. More than 3,000 Yazidis are still missing. Jane Arraf/NPR hide caption
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Jane Arraf/NPR

More than 3,000 Yazidis are still missing.

As he's talking, Shrim breaks away to take calls about a woman and children believed held in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor. ISIS has lost most of its territory, but there are still pockets where it operates, and almost every Yazidi family still has relatives missing.

A few minutes later, a group of Yazidi men come into Shrim's home to meet with him. One of them, Aydan Saleh, has four daughters missing. They were ages 11 to 17 when they were captured. Shrim managed to rescue his friend's wife and two young sons from Raqqa, but the trail of his daughters has gone cold.

"We haven't heard anything about them for more than a year," Saleh says. "The last time I got a phone call from them they were in [the Iraqi city] Mosul and then I had information that one was in al-Qaim [near Iraq's border with Syria], one was in Syria and two disappeared."

Leads are harder to come by

The authorities in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq have counted 6,417 Yazidis kidnapped by ISIS since August 2014. As of December 2017, less than half had been freed or escaped, and 3,210 were still captive or missing, a Kurdish official told Agence France-Presse.

Shrim acknowledges that some of the Yazidis still missing are almost certainly dead — many of them likely killed when ISIS homes and bases were bombed. Although he doesn't say it to the families, he thinks there are perhaps only 1,000 left alive. He won't promise to search for people's families unless there are solid leads and he says those are harder and harder to come by.

Shrim and a former intelligence officer who helps coordinate the rescues believe that several hundred of the women and children might have been taken to neighboring Turkey, where many of the ISIS fighters were from. There are a few women who refuse to come back — Shrim says they've been brainwashed and isolated from their families.

Hiwa Aziz, the former intelligence officer from Kurdistan, flips through photos on his phone of women and children they are still looking for. They include Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Turkmen women kidnapped by ISIS.

He says after three years of being held captive, raped and beaten, the horror for these women and children hasn't ended.

"We have information that some of the women have been sold for human trafficking and some of the children have been sold for organ trafficking," Aziz says in an interview in the Kurdish capital Erbil. He says part of the rescue network is working with international law enforcement agencies to try to crack an organ-smuggling ring they believe is centered in Turkey and catering to wealthy patients in the Arab Gulf states.

Aziz says some of the women have ended up sold to prostitution rings in Europe.

"A year ago, it was easy to find these women and children, but now ISIS is in only a very small area and we don't get much information anymore — it's very hard," he says.

On the outskirts of Shrim's village, a group of Yazidi women sit near a conical tomb on a hilltop as the sun sets. It's the only place they can gather to socialize. The older ones wear white scarves; the younger ones have their hair uncovered.

Almost all of the women have relatives still missing. They cling to messages smuggled out or personal effects as proof their loved ones haven't died. But as time goes on, it is harder to continue to keep that hope.

Juni Naif says her niece, Salwa, is still missing. Last year, one of her brothers managed to escape from ISIS and brought back Salwa's watch as proof she was alive. Since then they've heard nothing.

"People say we can get them back," Naif says, "but it's so hard to find them now."

https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/ ... in-missing
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