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Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

A place for discussion and exchanging ideas about Kurdistan issues here, also a place for sharing article & views and analysis about Kurdistan .

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:11 am

"With autonomy, security and unity will be achieved in Shengal" :ymapplause:

Shengal Democratic Autonomous Assembly Co-chairs and a commander of the YBŞ stated that the announcement of Shengal's autonomy is heavily important for unity and security matters.

Shengal Democratic Autonomous Assembly Co-chairs Hisên Hecî Nefso and Riham Baqi Hıco and one of the YBŞ commanders Seid Hesen Seid gave their assessments on the declaration of autonomy in Shengal:

HICO: WOMEN WILL PLAY ACTIVE ROLES

Shengal Democratic Autonomous Assembly Co-chair Riham Baqi Hıco said the following:

"We realized this autonomy project following discussions and meetings during these last two years. At this point our aim is to bring the Êzidî people together and organize our people against all kinds of attacks. In the near future many meetings will be held on the basis of this project and it will be put into practice with the ideas and opinions of our people. The role of women in this project is very meaningful and vital because women are the true leaders of the Êzidî society. A women quota of 40% will be introduced in the Shengal Democratic Autonomous Assembly and women will play active roles in every field."

'women are the true leaders of the Êzidî society' that is why quota of only 40% will be introduced in the Shengal Democratic Autonomous Assembly - patronizing male chauvinist pig X(

HECÎ: FOR UNITY AND SECURITY

Shengal Democratic Autonomous Assembly Co-chair Hisên Hecî Nefso stated: "With this autonomy project, which has been declared, we aim at bringing and protecting our Êzidî community together under one roof. Our primary wish is that all our people support this project and organize themselves. We are working towards realizing our democratic system for our people's security and unity on the basis of intense efforts we have been giving during the last two years. The Êzidî people will be working to live in unity everywhere and at all times.”

SEÎD: WE WILL SUBMIT THE PROJECT TO ALL SIDES

One of the YBŞ (Shengal Resistance Units) commanders Seîd Hesen Seîd said the following about Shengal's Democratic Autonomy Project: "The declaration of Shengal's autonomy in the current critical process is of great importance for our Êzidî people. We will submit this project of us to all the sides that were not involved in the genocide against the Êzidî community, and those who we don’t have relations with, because of the fact that we worked on this project in consideration of not only the Êzidîs but also all diversities. We will show the whole world how much the Êzidî people are a peaceful community. And we, the YBŞ and YJŞ forces, will foster our relations and be in dialogue with other military forces within the body of the Shengal Democratic Autonomous Assembly. We will fulfil our main task, which is to secure our people's safety and defence, at all times on a righteous basis." :ymapplause:
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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 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:04 pm

YJŞ fighters in Raqqa support Shengal's autonomy

Fighters of the Shengal Women's Units (YJŞ), who are fighting against the ISIS gangs in Raqqa, have expressed their support for Shengal's Democratic Autonomy Project

Shengal Women's Units (YJŞ) fighters who are actively engaged in the Great Battle for Raqqa for more than two months now to rescue and avenge the women and children of Shengal, fighting alongside Women's Defense Units (YPJ) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), have announced their support for ‘Democratic Autonomy Project of Êzidîxan’ that was declared on August 20.

The 23-point road map and basic principles for democratic autonomy was declared at a press conference stated that: “Since 14 January 2015, our Êzidî people desire an autonomous life in which decisions concerning themselves will be made by their own assemblies and the self-defense force to protect them against attacks will be affiliated to this assembly. They reject the fight for domination over Êzidîxan. In this regard, we submit the democratic autonomy project, which our people consider a must, to the appreciation of all political powers, concerned states, international powers and the Kurdish public opinion. We expect all those responsible powers to support the democratic autonomy structure that will lead Êzidîxan to a free and democratic life through an improvement of this project with necessary contributions.”

YJŞ fighter Têkoşîn Şengal said the following regarding the declaration of autonomy in Shengal: "Shengal's people have faced many massacres and genocides. In our present day it is a must for Shengal to have an autonomous administration and an own defence force, in order that the massacres of 3 August 2014 will not be lived through again. During the genocide of August 3, which I witnessed with my own eyes, neither the Regional Government of Southern Kurdistan, nor the Iraqi government put up the slightest effort to protect the Êzidî people against the ISIS attacks. Instead they threw us under the bus."

YJŞ fighter Ariya said: "We are convinced that Shengal's people will achieve true independence with the Democratic Autonomy project, come up with a solution to all their problems and form their own defense against enemies' attacks."

Berxwedan Dilgeş voiced her opinion as follows: "We congratulate the declaration of the Democratic Autonomy project on Leader Apo, our martyrs and all the people of Êzîdxan. The role of the Êzidî women in Democratic Autonomy is a huge victory for us. The women of Êzîdxan are fighting in Raqqa today to avenge their people.”

Têkoşîn Şengal also said: "We call upon all the Êzidî people and the world to support the Democratic Autonomy declared in Shengal. Those Êzidîs who were forced to leave their lands should stand by their people. As YJŞ fighters we congratulate the Democratic Autonomy of Shengal.”
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:57 am

To Ensure Tenure Security of Iraqi Yazidi People, UN-Habitat Handed Over Occupancy Certificates to the Returnees to the Renovated Houses in Sinuni/Sinjar, Ninewah Governorate

Sinuni, 25 August 2017: Following the ISIL/Da’ish offensive on Sinjar district, over 275,000 people from Mount Sinjar area - including a vast majority of Yazidis - were driven out of their homes. Abandoned Yazidi settlements were either systematically demolished or seized by ISIL fighters. Some 3,000 homes are thought to have been destroyed or burned down in the sub-district of Sinuni alone.

As part of the UN-Habitat’s Urban Recovery Programme, in partnership with the Nineveh Governorate, 562 damaged houses were rehabilitated in 11 villages across Sinuni Sub-District, 108 of which are in the town of Ashti. The project was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP) with generous funding from the Government of Germany.

This ceremony celebrated the completion of the Pilot Housing Rehabilitation project in Sinuni, which facilitated the returns of approximately 3,000 individuals to their restored houses, and the distribution of occupancy certificate to Yazidi families in Ashti. Alongside the technical rehabilitation of damaged houses, the project put a very strong emphasis on the human rights of adequate housing and tenure security as essential pillars of healthy, functional, resilient communities. This is inevitable in the case of the Yazidis, who were subject to protracted discriminating policies in the area where they were prevented from tenure security for decades. Using the Social Tenure Domain Model, a tool developed by UN-Habitat and applied in numerous countries, the UN-Habitat team conducted community consultation meetings to verify the occupancy claims of the returnees, and issued the occupancy certificates that are endorsed by local authorities as well as community members.

The project promotes sustainable and resilient towns for returnees — beneficiaries and rightful occupants — through the rehabilitation of housing and infrastructure, along with the recognition of their right to property and occupancy. The project adopted a community-based approach involving local private contractors, direct engagement of the local community in the rehabilitation work, and an effective partnership with the local authorities. The community-led approach builds self-reliance of local communities and authorities; secure recovery investments that remain with the community, and ensures security and protection, while re-establishing bounds and cultivating a spirit of peace-building and social cohesion among community members. Ultimately, the project promotes the right to adequate housing for vulnerable families who have been denied access to land and property rights for decades and have seen their houses destroyed during ISIL’s invasion of Sinjar. It also complements the reconciliation efforts made by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and UNDP.

His Excellency Dr. Cyrill Nunn, Ambassador of the German Federal Republic, called in remembrance the violence and atrocities against the Yazidi community by ISIS . “These acts against human rights and religious freedom should never be forgotten”, he stressed. The German Ambassador emphasized, that the housing project, funded by Germany, is an important step to allow many Yazidis returning home. Beside this physical support, another important step will be to address the psychological needs of those Yazidis, who have suffered so much under the control of ISIS. Germany stands ready to continue its support also in this area.

Dr. Erfan Ali, the Head of UN-Habitat Iraq underlined the strategic importance of this intervention to facilitate return, not only by the physical rehabilitation of damaged houses and infrastructure but also by addressing tenure rights of the returning families, stressing that “Recognizing the housing occupancy rights for the Iraqi Yazidis since decades in this area is a ground-breaking achievement, and is a necessary tool for prompting more returns to the area.”

On his part, the Vice Governor of Ninewah Mr. Abdelqader Sinjari thanked the Federal Republic of Germany for its contribution to the rehabilitation of the area, and underlined the need for more interventions and rehabilitation efforts in the district. He also underlined the importance of the occupancy deeds that were distributed by UN-Habitat.

On behalf of the people of Sinuni, the Mayor/Qa’immaqam, Mr. Nayeef Saydoo Qasem thanked the tangible results delivered under the project. He emphasized the level of destruction to the area, and stressed that additional support is needed to facilitate recovery and reconstruction.

http://reliefweb.int/report/iraq/ensure ... rtificates
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:49 am

Shengal's resistance will be crowned with democratic autonomy

The basic duty of all Êzidîs, lovers of freedom and those who have been oppressed and tyrannised for years is to stand up for this this democratic autonomy project and implement it.

The recently declared Shengal Democratic Autonomy Project comprised of 23 points can be defined as an important position gained in the freedom struggle of the Êzidî people.

The Shengal Democratic Autonomy Project was being debated for months. This project means for the Êzidî community to administer themselves, to defend their holy land Êzîdxan and to be in possession of a will. The Democratic Autonomy Project, which emerged with the resistance mounted after the 73rd genocide, constitutes a turning point in the history of the Êzidî people.

Historically and socially, it expresses a new step. The Êzidî people who created a rich culture in the course of history and carried the Zoroastrian philosophy to our present days, have made their resistance against all physical massacres, oppressions and hardships plainly visible through this project.

The Êzidîs are the prototypes of the Kurdish people. For someone to understand what suffering and oppressions the Kurdish people were subject to, it is enough to look at the situation of the Êzidîs. What this community experienced, is the perfect mirror of the history of the downtrodden.

From the thousands of years old background of this ancient community, their cultural way of life that has been passed down until the generation of this current era and the language they are using until today, it becomes obvious that they are the true essence of the Kurdish people. The Êzidî people, who never broke away from the sacredness of the earth, the sun and the water, played a leading role in the preservation of the Kurdish existence. However the lands they have been living on for thousands of years were looted and invaded and therefore no written evidence of them, including their sacred books, is left anymore.

Their cultural dynamism has been destroyed and burned down, plundered, they were subject to dozens of firmans (decrees of genocide), their young girls and women forcibly abducted, sold in markets, raped and abused. With the support of hegemonic powers, ISIS gangs who are devoid of humanity wanted to extinct such an ancient and deep-rooted community with the 73rd genocide. Therefore they systematically raped Êzidî girls and women, sold them as war loot in markets and abused and harassed them. But the Êzidî people resisted those barbaric and inhumane acts, remained and will remain firmly in their land. This is because they are now in the position to defend themselves, as was also indicated in the road map of the Democratic Autonomy Project. And with this confidence and belief they are implementing their project of autonomy.

The Êzidî community organised itself with the intensive efforts of the Freedom Movement and tried to stop the cultural erosion. A high price has been paid for this and it is continued to be paid. The Êzidîs should benefit from the experiences of the 40-year long struggle of the Kurdish Freedom Movement.

The gains made by the Kurdistan people, especially in Rojava, the morale and excitement over the declaration of the Democratic Autonomy Project in Shengal, and the gains achieved owing to the 50 years of efforts by Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan, sacrifice of thousands of freedom martyrs and the stand of the Kurdish people, is meaningful and valuable.

In these current days, in which a historical period is experienced, the declaration of this autonomy project is of great importance for the Êzidîs and all the peoples who are striving for freedom. This project, which has been realised by paying a high price, is defining the will and protection of Êzîdxan, even if it might be a bit late. Shengal's Democratic Autonomy Project also bears great meaning as to avenge the women who were raped and abused, and to prevent any genocide from happening once again.

It is vital that the Êzidî community takes a stand for their project with this conviction and belief and start from now on to govern themselves on the basis of self-administration. Common fields of life need to be organised for decisions to be implemented, the defence system needs to be fortified and reach all the Êzidîs.

The Shengal Democratic Autonomy Project is, with all its political, social, cultural and economic works and self-defence, at the same time also a field of women's labour. Women will organise themselves in this aspect and adjust their self-organisation accordingly. With the system of democratic autonomy women will be able to express themselves and find their place within society in all leading management mechanisms on equal basis and administer and protect it as a women's system.

The democratic autonomy's overall participation level in the general sense should by no means affect the character of the original autonomous system of women’s organisation. Next to an equal participation in the general organisation in all fields of life, take it from the local autonomous level to the top organization organs, women must also be able to create their independent gender and sovereignty based organisation with that integral understanding.

The Democratic Autonomy Project is therefore at the same time a system, in which women organise themselves independently, democratically and equally. For this reason it is the basic duty of all Êzidîs, lovers of freedom and all those that have been oppressed and tyrannised for years to stand up for this democratic autonomy project and put it into action.


Sadly, this article is rather misleading - the Kurdish struggle for freedom has been going on for much longer than 40 years and during the struggle many BRAVE KURDISH LEADERS and many THOUSANDS of Kurds died for FREEDOM

As I write this I am trying to remember the freedom fight that took place 150 years ago - does anyone remember who lead that?
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:36 am

People of Shengal are rebuilding their city :ymhug:

As part of reconstruction efforts, the people of Shengal have started to clean up their city of the wreckages left behind by the gangs and are concreting the streets that were damaged by ISIS.

The streets in Shengal's city centre, which were destroyed when the savage ISIS gangs ravaged the city, are being mended by the people of Shengal.

The project, which has been launched three days ago and is backed by the Iraqi central government, is expected to be completed within a week and will provide the main streets in the city centre with concrete.

One of the workers Eziz Sileman stated that they are mending currently all the damaged streets and added: "We have started this project three days ago. It might be completed within one week. We will carry out whatever work and project there is for our people. Shengal is being rebuilt now."

Sileman stressed that they hope for their people to return to their lands and live a free and collective life in Shengal.

Sileman recalled that 70% of Shengal city was completely destroyed and called on Iraq's Central Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to provide aid to their ambition to rebuild Shengal city.

Ziyad Heci, one of the workers casting concrete on the damaged streets, said: "We want to do all the good works that serve our people. It is three years now that our people have been displaced. Relief organisations and institutions need to offer help for Shengal's reconstruction."

Bênav Xorşîd, driver of the concrete mixer, stated that Shengal was demolished to a large degree and said: "Until now nobody provided any support whatsoever for the reconstruction of Shengal. But today we, the youth of Shengal, have started to clean up and mend the streets and roads with the help of the government in Baghdad."

Xorşîd also called on humanitarian organisations to provide aid for the reconstruction of Shengal.
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:15 pm

Life After ISIS Slavery for Yazidi Women and Children
By Cathy Otten

Image

This summer, Iraqi forces finally drove ISIS out of Mosul and most of northern Iraq. But for the Yazidis, a long persecuted religious and ethnic minority who practice a faith with pre-Zoroastrian roots and Islamic and Christian influences, stability is still a distant prospect. ISIS militants consider the Yazidis infidels and have subjected them to systematic killings, rape, and pillage. In the summer of 2014, ISIS killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of Yazidis; more than fifty thousand survivors fled to Sinjar Mountain, in the baking August heat. Three thousand Yazidis remain in ISIS captivity, but as ISIS has lost territory, international interest in them has faded.

Leila, who was twenty-three, was enslaved by ISIS, one of six thousand Yazidis who were captured in Sinjar. She was taken with other Yazidi women to Raqqa, Syria. She was moved again, and a Sunni Arab farmer from a village near Sinjar bought her. She knew the man—he had been like a godparent to Leila and her brothers when she was a child. Leila thought he would save her. Instead, after three days, he sold her to an ISIS military commander, who kept her in captivity for more than a year and regularly raped and tortured her. Her captor, she told me, did “a lot of terrible things—actions against God.”

In the spring of 2016, Leila, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy, managed to contact a smuggler, who guided her to freedom in Iraqi Kurdistan. Seven months after her escape, she was living in a small camp for displaced Yazidis under a string of mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan. In the first days and weeks after her escape from ISIS, Leila felt relieved to be free and back with her family. When I met her again later, relief was giving way to shock and a struggle to communicate. She experienced nightmares and flashbacks, and began worrying constantly that ISIS fighters would kidnap her again. I met her soon after her release, and then saw her mental state deteriorate. The Yazidi religious authorities welcomed back those who had been ISIS slaves, but, as Leila told me, readjusting to family life was difficult. “The Yazidis will never recover,” she said. “Even if we marry or fall in love, there will still be this thing inside that is broken.”

Today, most Yazidis remain displaced in camps and temporary shelters in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. Some have returned to Sinjar, but they live in fear of further violence. Over the last three years, different armed groups have taken control of different parts of the Sinjar district. In 2014, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., which has battled the Turkish government for decades, fought through ISIS-held territory alongside Syrian allies and opened a land corridor to Syria, allowing thousands of Yazidis stranded on Sinjar Mountain to escape. In 2015, fighters from Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government, known as peshmerga, retook the city of Sinjar from ISIS. Now the P.K.K. refuses to leave Sinjar. In response, forces backed by the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the main player in the Kurdistan Regional Government, have restricted the passage of goods through its checkpoints to Sinjar, preventing the destroyed city from being rebuilt, although, according to locals, restrictions have somewhat eased recently. Continued fighting with ISIS and a lack of funding from the cash-strapped Kurdistan Regional Government, the Iraqi government, and the international community have also slowed rebuilding.

Earlier this summer, Iraqi state-backed Shiite militias, with Yazidi recruits, drove ISIS out of a strip of Yazidi towns and villages south of Sinjar. The militias operating around Sinjar have recruited, trained, and armed local Yazidis with the assistance of their regional backers. Today, the brightly colored flags of various groups flutter above their respective checkpoints, which are sometimes only metres apart along roads not long ago controlled by ISIS. This spring, clashes broke out between the P.K.K. and peshmerga-backed forces, leaving at least four dead. When pro-P.K.K. Yazidis protested the violence, a Kurdistan Democratic Party-backed militia shot at least one demonstrator. In April, Turkish air strikes aimed at P.K.K. bases injured at least one Yazidi fighter and mistakenly killed at least five Kurdish peshmerga. The violence and myriad checkpoints have created a sense among Yazidis that they are pawns in a regional power struggle. As Sabah, a thirty-year-old nurse who was briefly captured by ISIS, told me, “Sinjar is divided into three parts, and everyone has a gun.” In the vast majority of my conversations with Yazidis, they told me that they would leave Iraq if they could. They complained that the bodies of their male relatives remained in shallow graves at massacre sites around Sinjar. Three years after they died in mass executions, the Yazidi men haven’t been exhumed because of a dispute between Iraqi and Kurdish officials over jurisdiction.

“We want to go somewhere safe,” Mehbed, a fifty-seven-year-old Yazidi woman, told me as she rocked her granddaughter to sleep inside their half-built home underneath a low ridge of hills in Iraqi Kurdistan. Her husband ekes out a living growing cucumbers and tomatoes in their garden. ISIS left makeshift bombs and ruined homes. The bodies of ISIS fighters still remain in their neighbor’s house and the mass graves are still full, Mehbed’s husband, Barakat, told me. “Those villages are gone forever,” he said.

This July, Iraqi forces found a thirteen-year-old Yazidi boy in the rubble of Mosul’s Old City while the battle for the city was ongoing. Emad Tammo had spent the past three years as a slave for ISIS fighters who forced him to carry ammunition and fetch water at front lines across the caliphate. When I met Emad, in his family’s sparse concrete house north of Mosul, he could barely speak, and his small body looked fragile after only eating small pieces of dates for months. I sat with him on the edge of a narrow bed while he played video games, his body curled over as if in self-defense.

Emad told me that during his years in captivity, shrapnel from a mortar lacerated his stomach, a bullet hit his elbow, and debris from a blown-apart building hit his head after an air strike. “Some of them were beating and insulting me, and some of them were a little better than others,” he told me, of the ISIS fighters. “It depended on who I was with.”

Emad seemed to be finding it hard to engage with his family. His uncle, Hadi Tammo, told me that Emad’s small cousins, who played in a back room of the house, had escaped from ISIS captivity last year. “I’m worried about him,” Hadi told me. Another six members of his family, including Emad’s brother and father, are still either missing or dead. Emad’s mother had travelled to Canada after escaping ISIS herself, last year. After I met Emad, a Canadian government program for vulnerable Yazidis agreed to fly him to Canada. On August 17th, he arrived in Winnipeg and was reunited with his mother.

Toward the end of the Mosul offensive this July, when only pockets of the city remained under ISIS control, I tried to find the Galaxy wedding hall, on the east bank of the Tigris River, where ISIS fighters had held thousands of Yazidi captives, including Emad, at different times. The wedding hall, which was a popular venue before ISIS, sits near a wooded road with fair stalls and cafés. Yazidis had told me that they were kept there with little food and no privacy and that, as they waited, they experienced a growing feeling of dread. Thousands of women and children held in the Galaxy were sold by ISIS in Mosul, or sent to prisons in Raqqa. When I eventually came upon the hall, it lay in ruins after an air strike.

One woman told me that, while she waited in the wedding hall, she feared that ISIS would sell her teen-age stepdaughter to an ISIS fighter. Frantic, she ordered the girl to go into the bathroom and have sex with a male Yazidi captive. The mother thought that if her stepdaughter were no longer a virgin, it would save her from rape by ISIS. “We destroyed her . . . I didn’t have another solution,” she told me. The shame of her stepdaughter losing her virginity to a non-Yazidi man would have been worse, she insisted. When I met the woman last year, she was living in a two-room house in northern Iraq with other relatives who had managed to escape. Her stepdaughter remained in captivity.

Nergez, a thirty-six-year-old former ISIS slave, was also waiting for information about the fate of her two teen-age daughters and teen-age son, who remained in ISIS captivity. She told me that she was following the news of battles against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Her village was recently liberated, but Nergez, who declined to give her full name, continued living in a small blue tent on the edge of a large camp for displaced Yazidis in Iraqi Kurdistan. “Why would we go back to our village?” she told me, as she sat beside a group of female relatives. “It is just as terrible there as it is here, and I still don’t know where my children are.”

Leila told me that she didn’t understand the priorities of the countries leading the war on ISIS. She wondered why such a large emphasis has been placed on winning back land instead of people. “Sometimes I watch the TV and I see the news of the army taking more land and villages,” Leila told me, explaining her confusion and pain that most Yazidis are still imprisoned. “We know most of them are in Raqqa, so why are they not going to save them there? Why are they taking these empty villages?”

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-des ... d-children
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:40 pm

George Clooney and his wife still helping Yazidis :ymapplause:

He's currently housing a Yazidi refugee: The actor told the Hollywood Reporter that he's housing a refugee who was threatened by ISIS while on a bus to Mosul.

"He survived and came to America. He got through all the checks, and once he got through those, it was like, 'Listen, we got your back. You want to get an education? You want to move your life forward? This is something that we can do," he said.

The refugee, he said, is living in a house Clooney has in Augusta, Kentucky, and he is now a student at the University of Chicago.

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/geo ... d=49660405
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:57 am

Mental health of Yazidi refugees must be a ‘priority’

The mental health of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Middle East — specifically among the Yazidi community in Iraq — must be a “priority”, urged a group of charities, academics, non-government organizations and government officials.

Without supporting the mental well-being of those displaced from their homes, the prospect of successfully reintegrating or returning them to their homelands is “remote,” Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne, founder and chairperson of the UK charity Amar Foundation told a Chatham House event in London.

It was during Amar’s annual Windsor Conference this September that a series of recommendations on how to re-integrate refugees and IDPs was drawn up. And the result was a call for greater focus on mental health.

The Amar Foundation works on the ground in the Middle East with displaced people and refugees, including the Yazidis who have suffered greatly at the hands of Daesh brutality. The UN confirmed last year that Daesh has committed acts of genocide and war crimes against the Iraqi minority group.

The onslaught of the militant forces pushed many Yazidi from their homes, contributing to the total of 3.6 million IDPs in Iraq. There are also 230,800 Syrian refugees in the country.

“(The Yazidi) went through tremendous trauma — being displaced; witnessing the beheading of people, being abused; raped by many men; sold in cheap markets and witnessing death every day. All the factors that make people have psychological problems are there. That’s why they need more support,” said Dr. Nezar Ismet Taib, director-general of health for Duhok Governorate in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, said on the sidelines of the event in London.

He said that Kurdistan cannot shoulder the financial burden of providing this support alone.

“Our short-term goal is to bring the international community to understand that Kurdistan region government with limited resources cannot continue serving all these people. We need them to step in and help us for all aspects — health, education, livelihood,” said Ismet Taib.

Other recommendations drawn up at the Windsor Conference call for the international community to recognize that refugee and IDP camps no longer provide refuge. Rather than being a temporary measure, the average time spent in a camp is 10.3 years.
Nicholson said refugee camps have become “sinkholes of misery and crime,” where a sense of acute loneliness can have a detrimental effect on well-being.

The refugee camps are contributing to a downward spiral of discontent, which could, in turn, pose further security threats to the region, she said.

The recommendations also call for the international community to break from a ‘secular’ approach and give greater consideration to the role of faith and spirituality in camps, such as faith-based mental health interventions.

It also calls for all major religions to recognize Yazidism as a world faith, a move that Nicholson said would change the wider region’s attitude toward the minority group. The Yazidis have a history of persecution and have suffered genocides before the recent attacks by Daesh.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1160121/middle-east
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:07 am

I firmly believe the FIRST priority should be to rescue all those Yazidis who are still - after more than 3 years - being help captive X(

Then secure the Yazidi lands and rebuild their homes :D

One of the main causes of mental illness they suffer is not knowing if their family members are still alive or what tortures they are subjected to on a daily basis X(

This is made worse as nobody knows how many Yazidi captives were killed by ISIS and by the coalition bombs while liberating/killing civilians in Mosul and other areas X(

Many Yazidis may have become

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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:57 pm

Ezidi leader calls all Ezidis to vote 'Yes' in Kurdistan referendum

DOHUK, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The leader of Yezidi (Ezidi) people around the world Mir Tahseen Beg on Friday called on all the Ezidis inside and outside the Kurdistan Region to participate in the independence referendum and vote “Yes.”

“The Kurdistan referendum is on Sep. 25 where the people will decide on their future,” Beg said during a press conference in Dohuk. “We all support the referendum.”

“I urge all the Ezidis inside and outside of Iraq to participate in the referendum and vote ‘Yes’ for the independence of Kurdistan,” the Ezidi leader continued.

“We request to have our areas linked with the Kurdistan Region,” he added.

The Ezidi leader said he had discussed the rights of Ezidis with the President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani.

According to Beg, both leaders agreed that all ethnic and religious groups in the Kurdistan Region should be treated equally along with the Kurds.

There are about one million Ezidis in the Kurdistan Region as well as the diaspora.

The religious group has suffered continuous genocides and mass executions throughout history in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

Mayor of Ezidis in the city of Sinjar (Shingal) Mahma Khalil and the Council of the City had previously called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to include Shingal and surrounding towns in the upcoming referendum.

Despite opposition from neighboring countries and the international community, the Kurdish leadership insists on holding the independence vote.

President Barzani has reiterated the people of the Kurdistan Region have the right to decide on their future democratically and peacefully.

http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/1b45 ... 5b10276cca
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:43 am

Iraq's minorities fear for their future

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Sheikh Mirza, many of whose Yazidi community have been killed or enslaved

A slight octogenarian dressed in loose white garments, Sheikh Mirza looks an unlikely warrior against the fighters of so-called Islamic State (IS).

Nevertheless, the Yazidi leader says that when they approached his ancestral village two years ago he left Lalish - the holy site where he usually resides - for the frontline.

"I picked up my weapons and stood there. I preferred to be killed rather than see them advance," he explains.

"These terrorists, these sons of donkeys, they hurt our people so much. God will take back our rights."

Besides its Shia and Sunni Muslim communities and mixture of Arabs and Kurds, Iraq has a wide range of other religions and ethnicities.

Minorities had been hit by waves of violence and turmoil since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. Then, IS singled them out for attack.

Among the worst affected have been the Yazidis, Christians, Turkmen, Shabak and Kakai.

The Yazidi are followers of an ancient faith who revere a Peacock Angel. IS denounced them as devil worshippers.
IS devastation

In August 2014, the jihadists moved into the area around Mount Sinjar - home to about 400,000 Yazidis. UN human rights experts refer to what happened next as genocide.

Thousands were killed and more than 6,000 sold into slavery or forced to become child soldiers. It is believed more than 3,000 are still being held captive.

"All my family is split up. My father is missing. My brothers were kidnapped," says Shireen, who escaped from slavery in Mosul. "We still have one sister held by IS."

Image
Huri (L) and Shireen feel unable to go back home

Shireen and her grandmother, Huri, live in Khanke camp, near Dohuk. Like many displaced Yazidis, they cannot yet envisage returning home.

"Some of us stay because we don't have houses. They were destroyed by IS or US air strikes [against IS]," Huri explains. "Without our men, we can't rebuild."

Another problem is that Sinjar, like other parts of northern Iraq, is now under control of the Popular Mobilisation, a paramilitary force largely made up of Iranian-backed, Shia Arab militias formed to fight IS.

Non-Shia civilians fear some of these militias.

Link to must read full story:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-41277880
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:04 pm

Clash opposing PKK-backed Yazidi group,
Shi'ite paramilitary leaves several casualties


ERBIL, Iraq, Sept 22 (Reuters) - An Iraqi Yazidi group backed by Turkish Kurds and Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary clashed on Friday near the border with Syria, a local security official said.

Several people were wounded and possibly killed.

The confrontation broke out at the checkpoints that separates the Yazidis' YBS, considered a branch of PKK, a Turkis Kurd separatist group, and Popular Mobilisation, a coalition of mainly paramilitary groups trained and armed by Iran, said a security official in the Yazidi Sinjar region in northwest Iraq. YBS stands for Sinjar Resistance Units.

It took place as the Kurdistan Regional Governemnt prepares for a referendum on Monday on indepedence in the region under its control, including Sinjar.

It is the first clash betweeen the two groups since Popular Mobilisation units deployed in May in the region south of Sinjar and near the border with Syria which they captured from Islamic State militants, he said.

The confrontation broke out because of a personal dispute and lasted several hours, he said.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuter ... lties.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:01 am

Why are US aid policies in Iraq helping Iran
and hurting Christian and Yazidi minorities?


Iraq’s Christian and Yazidi communities have survived beheadings, sexual slavery and bloody religious genocide by ISIS but they may not endure the grossly unfair and badly managed U.S. aid programs that are now meant to help them following ISIS’ defeat. The ugly possibility is that U.S. assistance policies may finish the terrible work that the fanatics of ISIS started.

In fact, as Congress will learn Tuesday at a hearing on this issue, things are like they were in the Obama administration, only worse. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and USAID Director Mark Green continue to channel over $1 billion of aid for Iraqis through various United Nations agencies, which divert the money away from the smallest and most beleaguered minorities, who suffered most grievously under the Islamic State.

    Unbelievably, to get U.S. assistance, Yazidis, another genocide-targeted minority in Iraq, and Christians were both expected to go to U.N. refugee camps that are infiltrated by ISIS sympathizers. The deeply traumatized minorities rejected this aid offer and sought private help instead.

For all of the past three years, U.S. humanitarian aid has bypassed the Christians and short-changed the Yazidis. The Chaldean Archdiocese of Erbil, which has been the sole guarantor of care for most Christian survivors of ISIS genocide, has received exactly zero of the $1.4 billion of U.S. humanitarian aid to Iraq since 2014. It chronicles a dozen times when its specific requests for aid were rejected by USAID and the State Department.

Unbelievably, to get U.S. assistance, Yazidis, another genocide-targeted minority in Iraq, and Christians were both expected to go to U.N. refugee camps that are infiltrated by ISIS sympathizers. The deeply traumatized minorities rejected this aid offer and sought private help instead.

Now, both groups are at an historic crossroads. Either Iraq’s non-Muslim minorities get help to leave their displacement shelters in Kurdistan and rebuild their shattered towns or, in despair, they must emigrate and see the extinction of their ancient communities, along with Iraq’s religious pluralism. The exodus is already occurring. Iraq’s Christian community has plummeted 80 percent, to less than 250,000 since 2003.

The outlook is grim. These minorities are now facing the same U.S. policy regarding reconstruction aid as they have for food aid. The Trump administration has handed over all America’s reconstruction funding and decision-making to the United Nations. Moreover, the U.S. lacks direct oversight of the U.N.’s projects in the Christian Nineveh Plains of Iraq.

The majority of the Christians and Yazidis have not gone home from shelters in Kurdistan, as the U.N. itself acknowledges. In fact, the non-Muslims have the lowest return rate of any Iraqi religious or ethnic group displaced by ISIS.

For the most part, their devastated towns remain uninhabitable, lacking the U.N.-sponsored water and electricity projects seen in the Sunni Muslim city of Mosul in the wake of ISIS’s ouster there in late July. Instead, U.N. reconstruction projects in Christian areas, for example, will not actually help most residents, but are “minimal or nonexistent,” local church authorities told me.

In one main Christian town, Bartella, the U.N.-listed projects largely consist of repairing municipal buildings, including a project to repair a building’s canopy and another to renovate the “mayor’s building.”

In the Christian town of Teleskof, the U.N. brandishes its name outside a girls’ school as a sign that it is reconstructing within. But photos of the interior reveal abandoned, unlit classrooms strewn with rubble and possibly booby traps. Local Christians point to it as an example of many bogus U.N. projects there.

Christian organizations overseeing the minorities’ return to their homes have no say in what projects are undertaken and Christians are virtually excluded from reconstruction contracts and jobs, the only real work available there now.

In July, a USAID Crisis Response official responded to an appeal for urgent help there, stating “we do not specifically target assistance to minority religious or ethnic groups.” For heaven’s sake, why not?

USAID’s response shows total disregard for the continuing struggle of Iraq’s Christians and Yazidis to overcome religious-based genocide. Secretary of State Tillerson officially recognized this genocide last August.

In September, a State Department officer breezily dismissed my own plea, declaring the Nineveh Christians don’t need help because “the Church is taking such good care of them.”

Meanwhile, Iran has opened a new elementary school in formerly Christian Bartella, named after the Ayatollah Khomeini. Tehran also completed a mosque and library there. At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Iranian diplomats and Iraqi officials gave speeches. Iranian-backed militias flying sectarian flags man checkpoints in other Nineveh towns where Christians have not returned.

In other words, American aid policies are facilitating Iran’s colonization of parts of Nineveh.

At a Rome conference of the papal charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), on September 28, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Sako decried “the hatred of the radical Muslim persecutors towards the Christians, which has driven them to wipe away our heritage, destroy our homes and even to remove us from the memory of Iraqi history.”

His words were uncharacteristically stark and reflect that Church’s desperation. He pleaded for international help for Nineveh’s Christians.

With private donations, ACN, along with the Knights of Columbus and Samaritan’s Purse, are repairing Christian houses and churches. But U.S. government assistance is essential, especially for large infrastructure projects.

President Trump cannot afford to wait. He must direct his cabinet to bypass the U.N. and ensure that U.S. aid reaches Iraq’s smallest minorities.

Important American humanitarian and security interests are at stake. So are countless lives in the oldest areas of continuous Yazidi and Christian settlements in the world.

Nina Shea has worked as a lawyer specifically focusing on religious freedom in American foreign policy, for thirty years. Joining the Hudson Institute as a Senior Fellow in 2006, she has led the Center for Religious Freedom, which she founded in 1986, in its effort to defend religious freedom internationally. She currently is a leader of a campaign for people threatened with genocide by ISIS.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/10/ ... ities.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:12 am

I think this report is better than the previous one:

Advocates Testify US Has Failed to Send Promised Aid to Iraq
and Syria’s Religious Minorities Targeted for Genocide


Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) held a hearing Tuesday calling attention to the astonishing lack of any U.S. funding going directly to religious minorities in Iraq and Syria who were targeted for genocide by ISIS.

“In the final appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017, Congress required that the U.S. State department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) fund the assistance promised by the administration,” Rep. Smith said.

Earlier this year, Congress allocated more than $1.4 billion in funds for refugee aid with specific language to ensure that part of the money would be used to assist religious minority groups, including Christians and Yazidis, who the State Department recognized as victims of genocide in 2016.

“Sadly career staff at the State Department and USAID have ignored the law and thwarted the will of the President, the Congress, and the people we represent,” Rep Smith said. “These bureaucrats have refused to direct assistance to religious and ethnic minority communities, even to enable them to survive genocide. This obstruction is unacceptable and I urge Secretary Tillerson and the new USAID administrator, Mark Green, to put an end to it.”

Smith also called for the passage of his bill, The Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Genocide Accountability Act, which would “ensure that humanitarian, stabilization, and recovery assistance for nationals and residents of Iraq or Syria, and of communities from those countries, is directed toward ethnic and minority individuals and communities with the greatest need, including those individuals and communities that are at risk of persecution or war crimes.”

Several witnesses attested to the desperate need of the Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria.

Stephen M. Rasche, Legal Counsel and Director of IDP Resettlement Programs for the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil, testified that the Christians in Iraq “have still yet to receive any form of meaningful aid from the U.S. Government.”

“Over the past three years,” he said, “we repeatedly approached the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development in Iraq and in Washington, DC to see if they would be willing to fund our humanitarian and rebuilding aid programs. We explained the needs on-the-ground were outpacing private funding and help from governments like the United States was needed to enable these communities to survive.”

“Career individuals at these agencies have continued to state that they are only concerned with individuals, not communities,” he explained. They have asserted that directing assistance to particular religious or ethnic communities would be ‘discrimination’ and a ‘violation of humanitarian principles,’ even if these communities had been targeted for genocide and assistance was being directed to them to prevent their destruction.”

“We were also told their own administrative interpretation of humanitarian principles superseded U.S. appropriations law that specifically stated that 2017 ‘International Assistance and Migration and Refugee Assistance shall be made available for humanitarian assistance for vulnerable and persecuted religious minorities, including victims of genocide designated by the Secretary of State,’” he said. “The fiscal year ended days ago, with these agencies continuing to shirk their statutory obligations. Still no aid has been provided to the imperiled Christian minority.”

Rasche pointed out that last month the Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration “provided $32 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya Muslims – a religious minority in Burma,” saying, “this action begs the question of why the State Department, which has distributed over $220 million in humanitarian assistance in Iraq since 2014, has consistently ignored the dire needs of persecuted minorities in Iraq.”

Rasche also highlighted some major problems with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) which is the main funding instrument “through which the US Government seeks to promote post-ISIS stabilization, rehabilitation and political stability in Iraq,” and through which USAID “has so far spent or allocated all of its funding for stabilization in Iraq, over $265 million.”

“While status reports from UNDP work in Nineveh purport to show real progress in the Christian majority towns, on the ground we see little evidence of it,” he said. “Work projects are in most cases cosmetic in nature, and much of that cynically so. ‘Completed’ school rehabilitation projects in Teleskov and Batnaya take the form of one thin coat of painting of the exterior surface walls, with freshly stenciled UNICEF logos every 30 feet.”

He added that while UNDP claims that work is done in areas in which religious minorities are the majority, in one report, they boast of work done in the “Christian” town of Telkayf, except “there are no more Christians in Telkayf. They were forced from this town by acts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. ISIS was firmly in control of this town until last fall and many of its Sunni Arab residents remained. Many of those residents, who openly welcomed ISIS while simultaneously engaging in the forced and violent expulsion of the majority Christians, are still there.”

“Telkayf has also been chosen as a settlement site for the families of slain ISIS fighters,” he emphasized. “As such, 100 percent of the work being done in this town benefits the Sunni Arab residents of the town, and there is no consideration anywhere in UN aid planning for the displaced Christians, who now depend wholly upon the Church and private sources for their survival.”

“In effect, U.S. taxpayers are financing the spoils of genocide,” he said.

Rasche called on the Senate to pass Rep. Smith’s bill and suggested that “Congress urge this Administration to appoint an interagency coordinator empowered to oversee and solve this issue.”

    Shireen Jerdo Ibrahim, a Yazidi woman who was taken captive by ISIS in 2014, gave a powerful testimony about the hardships she had faced and the need for U.S. aid to help the Yazidis.

    “Today as I speak here before you, 19 members of my family and my relatives are missing,” she said. “They may be killed or still in captivity but we don’t know anything about them. Many countries including United states and the United Nations recognized the Yazidi genocide, however our hope was there will be steps following that to provide justice and protection for my people. We are still waiting for action and the liberation of thousands of Yazidis from ISIS captivity.”

    “Our homes and lives were destroyed by ISIS, however, we still hope that our homeland will be re-built,” she said, “so that Yazidis, Christians and other minorities can find peace again, because this was our ancient homeland where we once co-existed as brothers and sisters.”

    “Yazidis, Christians and other religious minorities, especially the non-Muslim minorities, cannot survive in Syria and Iraq under the current conditions,” she warned. “Without serious action from you and the world governments many of these people will continue to flee their ancient homelands of Syria and Iraq. The protection of these minorities means that one day, my people will not become extinct.”


https://townhall.com/tipsheet/laurettab ... e-n2390182
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:19 pm

ISIS genocide survivor begs US to help Yazidis – before it's too late

Washington D.C., Oct 5, 2017 / 10:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A Yazidi survivor of the ISIS genocide urged members of Congress on Tuesday to help recover young girls and boys who were enslaved and sold by ISIS.

Shireen Jerdo Ibrahim, a Yazidi girl from northern Iraq who was captured and enslaved by ISIS forces in 2014 before escaping from captivity in Mosul, told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Tuesday that there remain “thousands of Yazidi women and boys in captivity.”

“Help us free those in captivity, our family members,” she pleaded with members of Congress present at the hearing.

Ibrahim testified on Tuesday before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations at a hearing on “Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability.”

Yazidis are a small ethnic-religious minority of Iraq who mostly lived in the Nineveh province in the north of the country, near Sinjar. They are of Kurdish descent, and their religion combines elements of Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. They are considered by ISIS to be “devil worshippers.”

In 2014, ISIS swept through northern Iraq, killing or enslaving many Yazidis, and surrounding a large Yazidi contingent taking refuge on Mount Sinjar. The Yazidi began to die from starvation or dehydration, until U.S.-led humanitarian airdrops provided them with needed supplies, and airstrikes in the surrounding area drove away ISIS forces.

The goal of ISIS was to “eradicate Yazidis and Christians from Iraq,” Ibrahim said. “They displaced all of us,” she said, and minorities in the region “will not be able to live there in the same environment.”

“What ISIS did to us is out there. It’s known to everyone,” she said. “They enslaved thousands, they killed thousands of Yazidis,” she said. “We see mass graves almost every week,” she continued, reporting that there are almost 40 mass graves in the area.

Ibrahim shared with members of Congress her own experience of the ISIS attack. On Aug. 3, 2014, her uncle called her from a village in the area and told her that the Kurdish Peshmerga forces protecting the region had retreated, and ISIS had attacked.

She fled with others to Mount Sinjar, but their truck broke down. Trying to make their way to safety on foot, the group was captured by ISIS forces at the base of the mountain. They were taken back to their village and unloaded from the trucks. ISIS separated families and men from women.

Ibrahim was forcibly separated from her younger sister, taken to a prison in Badoosh, moved to the Tal-Afar district when coalition airstrikes targeted the area, and then sold to someone in Raqqa, Syria. There she was tortured, brought to Mosul, and sold five times in captivity.

In Mosul, there were “hundreds and thousands of Yazidi girls there being sold as sex slaves,” she said. Her nine months in ISIS captivity, “was like hell,” she said in a written statement. ISIS performed abdominal surgery on her without explaining why, and “committed all kinds of atrocious crimes against us including mass killing, sexual enslavement, and forced conversion.”

Nineteen members of her family are missing. She has no knowledge of their whereabouts, she said. “Almost all of Iraq has been liberated” but Yazidis are still missing. She has heard reports of Yazidi boys in Saudi Arabia, she said, where they have been sold and brainwashed.

She asked the U.S. to help Yazidis locate and rescue their loved ones in captivity, to help those who have been recovered from ISIS captivity, and to assist Yazidis in rebuilding their homeland.

And young people recovered from ISIS captivity need support and psycho-social care, she added, since they have been traumatized.

In March of 2016, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that “in my judgment, Daesh [ISIS] is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims.”

“Our hope was that this would be followed by action,” Ibrahim said, like helping rebuild the area, providing security for religious and ethnic minorities against reprisals or extremists attacking them, and bringing the ISIS perpetrators to justice.

“Our hope is that Yazidis will be assured that they will be able to go back to their homes,” she said, or that they will be able to “emigrate somewhere else.” Although ISIS militants have largely been cleared out of Iraq, their ideology remains, she said.

“Under the same ideology, a different group may attack us,” she said.

Former congressman Frank Wolf, a distinguished senior fellow of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, also testified that while he visited communities in the region, locals expressed concern about various military and militia groups taking a commanding role in the towns.

The Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Forces, were one militia group in particular “largely backed by Iran” and “filling the vacuum left post-liberation,” Wolf said. In the Sinjar region, the control by the militia units has scared off many Yazidis from returning to their homes, he said.

Unless countries like the U.S. take further action to help the displaced minorities in northern Iraq by the end of the year, they could depart for good, Wolf said.

“I am sad to say that if bold action is not taken by the end of the year, I believe a tipping point will be reached and we will see the end of Christianity in Iraq in a few short years and a loss of religious and ethnic diversity throughout the region,” he said.

This “could result in further destabilization, violent extremism and terrorism across the Middle East,” he said. “In other words, ISIS will have been victorious in their genocidal rampage unless concrete action is taken.”

Lauren Ashburn, anchor and managing editor of EWTN News Nightly, told the subcommittee of her reporting trip to the region in April. “Christians in Iraq are on the brink of extinction,” she said.

The village of Batnaya, which she visited, had been nearly destroyed entirely by ISIS, she said. ISIS fighters decapitated a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the church, defaced pictures of Christ, and “bullet holes mark the place where a cross once hung,” Ashburn said. “Every Christian symbol I could see had been defaced or obliterated. I could not hold back my tears.”

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news ... late-26658
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