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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 Nov 28, 2018 11:40 pm

On the Yazidi Genocide, a Bad Day for the Knesset

Something rather unexpected and disturbing occurred in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on November 21. A bill recognizing the 2014 slaughter of the Yazidi minority in Iraq by ISIS terrorists as a “genocide” was voted down by a margin of 58-38 against.

It was unexpected for several reasons. To begin with, both the government of Israel and Jewish organizations around the world instantly recognized the slaughter for what it was during that terrible summer that witnessed thousands of Yazidis brutally murdered, and more than 7,000 young women and girls kidnapped for use as sex slaves by the killers of their families.

Speaking to the UN General Assembly in September 2014, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu introduced his remarks with a fulsome condemnation of “militant Islam,” declaring, “Typically, its first victims are other Muslims, but it spares no one. Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Kurds — no creed, no faith, no ethnic group is beyond its sights.” On a more local level, there were several wonderful initiatives by Jewish groups to assist Yazidi survivors. For example, the Winnipeg Jewish Federation’s “Operation Ezra” sponsoring Yazidi refugee families, and the efforts of Montreal-based Jewish businessman Steve Maman (not unreasonably dubbed the “Jewish Schindler”) that led to the release of more than 100 Yazidi girls from the clutches of their ISIS masters.

The Knesset vote was disturbing on purely moral grounds. As the bill’s sponsor, Knesset member Ksenia Svetlova of the opposition Zionist Union, pointed out, “Israel was created from the ashes of the Holocaust, we are obligated to recognize the suffering of others.” One might add that there is a precedent even closer to home: During the first half of the 20th century, Jewish communities from British Mandate Palestine to Iraq were subject to persecution and violence at the hands of Islamists and Arab nationalists, resulting in their complete uprooting after World War II. So the parallels between Jewish suffering and that endured by the Yazidis are, sadly, all too clear.

True, to expect that states will always choose the morally upright path in their policy decisions — something that many people generally expect of Israel, often unreasonably, while citing the Holocaust as the reason — is to defy the historical record. Even a cursory glance at Israel’s history tells you why its military leaders and diplomats have, like their peers abroad, typically identified with the realist school of international relations, for which ethical consistency and empathy are, at best, subsidiary concerns. For example, Israel’s reluctance to recognize the Ottoman Turkish genocide of the Armenians isn’t really based on a consideration of the facts of the case, but on a strategic decision not to further strain relations with Turkey by insulting Turkish national honor.

What’s galling in the Yazidi case, however, is that there is no state like Turkey in the equation, which would at least explain, if not justify, the Knesset vote. But that hasn’t apparently prevented the Israeli foreign ministry from thinking along similar lines. In an interview with Seth Frantzmann — a courageous Israel-based journalist who has reported from the front-lines of Syria and northern Iraq — MK Svetlova said that the “government parties opposed it because the ministerial commission for legislation decided that on Sunday.” She also told Frantzmann that she had gotten the sense that “the foreign ministry is worried about moving too fast on this issue.”

Svetlova’s account seems consistent with the Israeli government’s own explanation of its position. During the Knesset debate, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely justified opposition to the bill on the grounds that the United Nations had not recognized the ethnic cleansing and murder of the Yazidis as a “genocide,” as understood by the 1951 Convention on Genocide.

Svetlova was far from alone in pointing out the irony of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government, which rightly excoriates the United Nations for its discriminatory treatment of Israel — citing the UN’s conclusion on a matter of human rights as justification for its own. But it’s also, even more unfortunately, not the whole truth.

While the UN Security Council, the UN’s sovereign body, has not explicitly recognized the suffering of the Yazidis as a genocide, it manifestly has not ruled that conclusion out either. Firstly, UNSC Resolution 2379 of September 2017 notes that ISIS committed crimes “involving murder, kidnapping, hostage-taking, suicide bombings, enslavement, sale into or otherwise forced marriage, trafficking in persons, rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence, recruitment and use of children, attacks on critical infrastructure, as well as its destruction of cultural heritage, including archaeological sites and trafficking of cultural property” — all crimes that can be prosecuted under the Genocide Convention or similar human-rights instruments, such as the 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Secondly, the purpose of the resolution was to establish a UN investigation into whether ISIS terrorists can be held accountable, in the resolution’s own words, “for acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed by ISIL (Da’esh).” Given the documented evidence of ISIS crimes against the Yazidis and the specific wording used by the United Nations, to argue that the international body does not consider this to be a genocide is to raise pedantry and diplomatic caution above principle.

More plainly, this was a bad, bad day for Israel’s parliament. The Knesset’s decision will have disappointed many Israeli voters, along with Jews abroad who would like Israel to show the same leadership on the issue of genocide-prevention that it displays in its responses to humanitarian disasters around the world. Svetlova now says she will reintroduce the Yazidi genocide bill in six months; let’s hope the Knesset gets it right next time.

Ben Cohen writes a weekly column for JNS on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics. His writings have been published in Commentary, The New York Post, Haaretz, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.

https://www.algemeiner.com/2018/11/28/o ... e-knesset/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:06 am

Yazidi women seek to join case against French
company accused of funding Islamic State


A group of Yazidi women kidnapped as sex slaves by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria applied on Friday to join a criminal case against French cement maker Lafarge, which is being investigated over allegations it funded the militants.

Lafarge is under formal investigation in France over charges it paid IS, also known as ISIS, to keep open a plant in northern Syria that operated between 2011 and 2014.

Lawyers said they had filed an application for the women to become civil parties to the case, which they said marked the first time a multinational company had been charged with complicity in international crimes by IS.

“It provides an opportunity to establish that ISIS, and all those who assisted them, will be held to account for their crimes, and that victims will be awarded just compensation,” said Amal Clooney in a statement.

“And it sends an important message to corporations that are complicit in the commission of international crimes that they will face legal consequences for their actions,” she added.

The Yazidis, a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of ancient Middle Eastern religions, are regarded by Islamic State as devil-worshippers.

About 7,000 women and girls were captured in northwest Iraq in August 2014 and held by Islamic State in Mosul where they were tortured and raped.

Although the militants were driven out a year ago, many Yazidis still live in camps, afraid to return home, charity groups say.

Lafarge, which merged in 2015 with Swiss building supplies company Holcim, has acknowledged failures at the Syrian business.

“LafargeHolcim deeply regrets the unacceptable errors committed in Syria. The company continues to fully cooperate with the French authorities,” a spokesman said in emailed comments to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The plight of Yazidis has attracted attention in recent years, especially since high-profile Clooney began representing the minority group and became a legal counsel to Yazidi rights activist Nadia Murad, who won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

A U.N. investigative team began work in August - nearly a year after being created by the Security Council - to collect and preserve evidence of acts by Islamic State in Iraq that may be war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mide ... SKCN1NZ2AS
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Dec 02, 2018 11:24 pm

Nobel laureate Nadia Murad secures
€1mn EU backing for ‘Sinjar Action Fund’


Nobel Peace Prize laureates Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege have been handed an additional €5 million ($5.6 million) to continue their fight against sexual violence as a weapon of war, the European Commission (EC) announced Monday.

The European Union plans to strengthen its stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Sinjar – known to Kurds as Shingal – through a €1 million ($1.1 million) contribution to Murad’s ‘Sinjar Action Fund’ initiative, the EC said in a statement.

ISIS attacked Shingal in 2014, killing and kidnapping thousands of Yezidis – a religious minority in northern Iraq – displacing thousands more to IDP camps in the Kurdistan Region.

The funding will specifically focus on developing areas liberated from ISIS and supporting the needs of displaced populations, vulnerable groups, and local communities, the EC said.

“This initiative for the reconstruction of Sinjar will create infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and encourage the return of displaced populations to their homeland,” the statement added.

A further €4 million will support Dr Mukwege’s work helping victims of sexual violence and women suffering from gynecological conditions at the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Murad, who herself survived the 2014 ISIS genocide, was jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize with Dr Mukwege for their work highlighting and combatting sexual violence as a weapon of war.

“As the European Union, we admire the immense courage and tireless work of Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege, who often put their own lives at risk,” said Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, after meeting the Nobel laurites in Brussels on Monday.

“We have a duty to support their work and all the people they represent, as we are doing, and this is also the best way to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.”

“This is how the European Union can help put an end to sexual violence, once and for all, everywhere in the world,” said Commissioner Neven Mimica.

The European Union has committed approximately €310 million to Iraq’s development since 2014. Since the beginning of the crisis, more than 1.7 million displaced people have returned to their homes. Around 2 million remain displaced.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/271120181
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:50 pm

Yezidis remember missing loved ones during three days of fasting

SHINGAL, Kurdistan Region – Yezidis are remembering their loved ones killed by ISIS and those still missing as they end three days of ritual fasting

Yezidis observe three days of fasting in early December. They refrain from eating during daylight, using the time to pray and connect with neighbours. After fasting, they celebrate with a feast.

“I congratulate Yazidis on this occasion,” a local Yezidi man told Rudaw at Sharfaddin shrine in Shingal. “We hope our rights are given and our captives held by the unbelievers are freed.”

For Yezidis, celebration of their feasts and special days has been bittersweet since ISIS militants swept across northern Iraq in 2014 and committed genocide against the religious minority.

Though the group was declared militarily defeated in Iraq a year ago, the Yezidi community still has not found peace.

The majority of them who fled ISIS in 2014 have still not returned to their homes. Much of Shingal has not been rebuilt. Thousands of those killed by the militants are still buried in mass graves. And as ISIS has been pushed into a small corner of territory in eastern Syria, Yezidis are wondering about the fate of hundreds of their loved ones who were taken captive by the group.

More than 1,100 mostly women and girls are still missing, according to figures from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
(could be upwards of 3,000)

At Sharfaddin shrine, people prayed for the women and children still held by ISIS.

Others visited the graveyard – where loved ones killed by ISIS are buried – to pay their respects early Friday morning.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/071220181
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:23 am

Nadia Murad: I survived ISIS. Now I want to rebuild the Yazidi homeland

Change can happen when one least expects it. I know this to be true because my life changed in an instant. One moment I was a farm girl, going to school in my village in northern Iraq and the next I was an Isis sex slave, “owned” by militants

My peaceful existence was shattered simply because my religious beliefs were deemed sub-human by a group of men who believed they were superior. Isis murdered my family and took me captive, exposing me to horrors which would be impossible to imagine had I not endured every moment and felt each brutal blow.

My story is not unique. I am only one Yazidi woman. Isis’s terror rained down on all of us. It was not a slow drizzle but a thunderous storm that moved through my community, destroying everything. Make no mistake: Isis planned to exterminate the Yazidis. Isis planned a genocide.

When they came to my village, I don’t think anyone believed their intention was to eradicate all Yazidis from Iraq. I was a young girl, so perhaps the adults had a better sense of what was about to happen, but I think it is unlikely. Even today, I find myself pondering the reality of what happened. The hardest concept to grasp is that the world watched and did nothing.

The world understood the Yazidi community was under attack — I know this because I watched adults calling people in other countries. We saw news on the television before we were herded out of our homes like animals going to slaughter. Yet no one came to our rescue.

Yes, President Obama authorised air strikes against Isis, and helicopters dropped food aid on Mount Sinjar, but these acts did not stop the genocide. Looking back, I have concluded that no one felt direct responsibility to protect a small, persecuted minority from the wrath of Isis. And if you don’t feel responsible, then you don’t act.

I came from a large, loving family; there were 20 of us. We lived simply, but happily, and we got along with our neighbours who were not Yazidi. It is difficult for me to think of those happy times because I know my family will never be reunited — Isis killed my mother, six of my brothers and many of my nieces.

Deciding to tell my story was a difficult choice; no one wants to discuss such horrors publicly. I chose to speak because I believed the world needed to know the truth and I wanted justice. I wanted Isis held accountable. If we cannot achieve this, with all the evidence and our justice systems, then we are giving a green light to these groups.

At the time of my escape, I believed the world didn’t actually know the horrors of what was happening to my community. I thought that if they knew, leaders would act and the Yazidi would be rescued. Sadly, this isn’t the case.

Survival came with a purpose and an obligation. I have travelled the world to seek justice, pleading with global leaders to help the Yazidis who remain in dire need. My pleas have been met with expressions of sympathy but little action. More than 3,000 Yazidi women are still in captivity. More than 300,000 Yazidis live in squalor in refugee camps in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, without basic human necessities.

Yazidis want to return to Sinjar but Isis destroyed everything. We want bright prospects for our children but we can’t have this unless Sinjar — the Yazidi homeland — is rebuilt. Even now, Isis is regrouping in territories such as Libya.

It would be unfair to say that nothing has changed since my escape. Many governments have recognised the Yazidi genocide, which is no small feat. Some limited progress on the ground has occurred. But there is an urgent need for serious humanitarian assistance. I do not want any more expressions of sympathy. I want world leaders to act. Benign neglect and indifference is unacceptable.

Sometimes people ask me why I started Nadia’s Initiative. To create change, one must assume responsibility. My hope is that 2019 will bring comprehensive peace building to the region and life will begin to change for my people. I have learnt, however, that hope is dangerous. For years now, the Yazidis have only had hope: that the world would act, that they could return to their homeland, that they could have medical care and that their children would be educated. But hope has an expiration date.

I believe we can choose to protect hope — we can rebuild Sinjar and resettle the Yazidi population. This is not an insurmountable task, but to accomplish it we must look past what divides us. Let hope unite us. Let humanity unite us.

Change is possible and can happen in an instant. My hope is change in 2019 will right the wrong of 2014 — the year of the Yazidi genocide.

https://www.ft.com/content/f28c4184-f82 ... 22a0b02a6c
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:36 am

Former child captive of ISIS behind
campaign to give bikes to refugee kids


WINNIPEG -- Emad Mishko Tamo looks excitedly at his bright-green mountain bike and talks about how he's looking forward to summer cycling adventures with other Yazidi refugee children in his community

For the 14-year-old boy, the bicycle stands for freedom, something that only a few years ago was snatched away from him and his family when they were taken by Iraqi militants and held captive for three years.

Now, he's behind a movement to bring new bicycles to all Yazidi refugee children in Winnipeg.

"I saw so many kids they suffered when they were captured by ISIS. There were so many kids they were crying. They were dead. We saw a lot of things," Emad said through translator Khalil Hesso, president of the Yazidi Association of Manitoba.

"Since that I promised to myself any kids I will see I will help."

Emad lived happily with his family in an Iraqi village until the summer of 2014 when it was attacked by Islamic State militants.

Emad was separated from his mother, Nofa Mihlo Zaghla, as thousands of members of the Kurdish-minority Yazidis were displaced. His mother was held captive for two years but, during an attack on the compound, she was eventually able to escape with four of her children. She made her way to Canada and settled in Winnipeg.

She thought her young son was dead.

But after some Yazidis were freed in Mosul in 2017, a photo emerged online of a young boy, covered in dust, sitting in the front seat of a vehicle.

It was Emad.

Action was quickly taken to reunite the teenager with his surviving family in Winnipeg. When he arrived at his new home, in a new country, a bicycle was waiting for him.

"Emad was coming from three years of being held hostage. He didn't have anything like a bicycle or basketball or soccer ball," Steve Maman, founder of the Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq (CYCI), said in an interview from Montreal.

He was the one who donated Emad's bike.

"To him a bicycle was something he didn't expect to ever own, living in Kurdistan as a child ... I could imagine to a child like that a bicycle would mean something very important -- a dream."

Emad and his family worked hard to make a life and find happiness in Winnipeg, but there were still struggles and worries in Iraq.

Emad's uncle, Hadji Tamo Rafo Zaghler, points to a wall in their apartment where the faces of 12 family members hang on a poster. They include Emad's father who Zaghler says was found in a mass grave. They don't know what happened to most of the others.

When Maman was catching up with Emad in a phone call last summer he learned the bicycle had been stolen. Maman knew how much it meant to the teenage refugee, so he offered to buy him another one. Emad insisted he'd only want another one if they could find a way to get all the Yazidi refugee children in Winnipeg bikes.

"He wanted to ... help victims of genocide because he's thinking of other children who have nothing," Maman said. "It's impressive. I wanted to be able to fulfil his will of him believing in himself."

At first it seemed as if it might be a difficult feat to pull off, Maman said, but soon things started to fall into place.

It was just happenstance that he would connect with Bryan Phillips, a car enthusiast from Terre Haute, Ind., who purchased engine parts from Maman to fix up an old -- but nice -- Bentley. While the two men were discussing cars, the goal to get bicycles to refugee children came up.

Phillips said he didn't think twice about offering the Bentley for sale to help fulfil Emad's dream.

Maman took the profits from the car's sale and purchased 100 bicycles to be delivered to refugee children during a special Yazidi Eid celebration this coming Friday.

Maman said it was important to fulfil Emad's wish to encourage him to continue helping others and to show how he can achieve anything.

As Emad and his cousins, dreaming of warm spring days, pretend to ride a bicycle in the apartment, Hesso smiles and says the bikes will mean everything to the children.

"The Yazidi community, we are not going to forget that."

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/former-ch ... -1.4210842
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:18 am

Former ISIS sex slave Nadia Murad urges world to
protect Yazidis as she accepts Nobel Peace Prize


Yazidi activist Nadia Murad, a survivor of sex slavery by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), implored the global community to help free hundreds of women and girls still held by the militants in her Nobel acceptance speech on Monday (Dec 10), saying the world must protect her people

"The protection of the Yazidis and all vulnerable communities around the world is the responsibility of the international community," Ms Murad told the ceremony in Oslo.

The 25-year-old shares the Nobel Peace Prize with Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, who has spent more than two decades treating appalling injuries inflicted on women in the Democratic Republic of Congo's war-torn east.

Nobel committee chairman Berit Reiss-Andersen said the pair were "two of the strongest voices in the world today".

"The fight for justice unites them, despite their very different backgrounds," she said on Monday.

Ms Murad wept during Ms Reiss-Andersen's description of the suffering of her people.

She survived the horrors of captivity under the ISIS where they targeted Ms Murad's Kurdish-speaking community.

Older women and men faced summary execution during the ISIS assault, which the United Nations has described as a possible genocide.

Captured in 2014, she suffered forced marriage, beatings and gang-rape before she was able to escape.

In her Nobel acceptance address on Monday, Ms Murad said that thousands of women and girls from her community had been kidnapped, raped and traded "in the 21st century, in the age of globalisation and human rights".

The fate of some 3,000 women and girls is still unknown

"Young girls at the prime of life are sold, bought, held captive and raped every day. It is inconceivable that the conscience of the leaders of 195 countries around the world is not mobilised to liberate these girls," she said.

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/euro ... epts-nobel
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:25 am

PKK continues to recruit children in Iraq’s Sinjar

PKK sent fighters to Sinjar on pretext that it was protecting Ezidis from Daesh

The PKK terrorist group continues to recruit children by force in Iraq’s northern Sinjar district, an Iraqi tribal spokesman said on Monday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Muhasim al-Huwaysi, a spokesman for the Arab tribes in Mosul, said more than 100 children have been kidnapped by the terrorist group in Sinjar.

"After being trained, those children are sent to fight alongside YPG/PKK forces,” he said.

According to the spokesman, the kidnapped children hail to various ethnic groups in the area.

Huwaysi said the terrorist group has dug more than 150 tunnels in Sinjar.

"These tunnels are located near Sinjar Mountain and district center,” he said, adding that the PKK was storing weapons in these tunnels.

“The PKK terrorists also use these places to take shelter in case of an attack," he said.

According to the spokesman, the PKK has five camps in Sinjar, each of which has around 1,000 militants.

Huwaysi called on Turkey to intervene to clear the area from PKK terrorists.

"We, as leaders of Mosul's Arab tribes, approve Turkey's intervention to put an end to the PKK actions in the region," he said.

"The terrorists constantly switch between Sinjar and Syria," he said, adding that there was weapons trafficking trade across border areas.

Huwaysi said the PKK was forcefully collecting money at various checkpoints erected by the terrorist group in the area.

In mid-2014, the PKK sent fighters to Sinjar -- from Syria and Iraq’ northeastern Qandil region -- on the pretext that it was protecting Ezidis from the Daesh terrorist group.

But even though the region was later cleared of Daesh terrorists, the PKK has continued its expansionist policies in the area.

In October of last year, the Iraqi government sent federal troops into parts of northern Iraq “disputed” between it and the Kurdish Regional Government -- including Sinjar.

After federal forces moved into Sinjar, the PKK falsely claimed to have withdrawn from the region.

https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/pkk- ... ar-3468814
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:03 am

The UN should protect the Yazidis

The Yazidis are a peaceful people and and need protecting from EVERYONE

The international community should rebuild the Yazidi homes and villages

AND

Provide the means for Yazidis to live a free and independent life

AND

Stop tearing the community apart

It was HORRIFIC when ISIS slaughtered THOUSANDS of innocent Yazidis

It was more than horrific when THOUSANDS of women and children were held captive, tortured and raped

It is EVEN WORSE that the international community have failed to rescue the captives

Yazidis, who live in extended families, are having those families torn apart as many are being dispersed worldwide

Other Yazidis live in fear in refugee camps

Why fear

Because some of the same refugee camps contain ISIS members

ALL YAZIDIS have had family members slaughtered by ISIS

ALL YAZIDIS have family members who are missing

ALL YAZIDIS live in fear of future attacks

More than 4 years on what does the world do to help Yazidis

    NOTHING
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:43 am

ISIS May Be Gone, But Iraq’s Yazidis Are Still Suffering
By Sam Mednick

The defeat of the Islamic State has created a power vacuum in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, leaving the Yazidi minority at the mercy of competing militias

Iraq’s strategically located town of Sinjar, now empty of civilians and devoid of life, lies buried beneath rubble. Although it was liberated from the Islamic State three years ago, the city remains in ruins—and has become rife with proxy militias vying for regional control.

Situated about 20 miles from the Syrian border, the town lies south of the Sinjar Mountains, a range that has always held geographic importance. Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein reportedly used the mountains, which have a high point of 4,800 feet, to launch missiles into Israel during the Gulf War in the 1990s.

In recent years, Sinjar, home to the Yazidis, an ethno-religious minority, was the site of an Islamic State-led genocidal campaign. On Aug. 3, 2014, the terrorist group mercilessly attacked the town, slaughtering thousands of civilians and abducting women and girls who were then taken to Syria and sold or given as sex slaves to Islamic State fighters. Those who could make it sought refuge atop Sinjar’s rugged mountains. While under the jihadi group’s control, Sinjar provided a land corridor and supply route linking Islamic State strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

Since Sinjar’s liberation in late 2015, a slew of militias have poured in, creating a leadership vacuum that threatens the region’s stability. “Despite having been freed from ISIS presence … the region de facto remains an occupied district where competing Iraqi and foreign agendas play out by coopting Yazidis into rival armed groups,” Maria Fantappie, the senior advisor on Iraq at the International Crisis Group, told Foreign Policy. The continued presence of groups in the area is preventing reconstruction, demining, and the safe return of Yazidis to their homes, she added.

Four factions currently occupy Sinjar and its surrounding areas, none of which has full control: Iraqi government forces, the predominantly Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units; the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), an Iraqi government-sanctioned paramilitary force backed by Iran; and the Ezidxan Protection Force, a local Yazidi militia of 3,000 troops. Flags change at each checkpoint in and around the town as each party attempts to assert dominance.

Distrust is endemic, especially toward the Iranian-backed militia. “There is no security in Sinjar; it’s not safe because of the (PMU),” said Edo Hayder Murad, deputy commander of the Yazidi Ezidxan forces in Sinjar town. “They want to use this area to control the top of the mountain, they want to control Israel, they want to control everything,” he said, referring to Saddam’s use of the mountain to fire missiles at Israel during the Gulf War.

He’s calling on the international community to create an armed force based in Sinjar to protect the Yazidis. But talks with the Americans and Europeans have so far yielded few results. Cmdr. Murad even requested a one-on-one meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump but says he’s yet to receive a response. He worries if the predominantly Shiite PMU takes over, his people will be even worse off than under the Islamic State.

According to a report by the International Crisis Group published in February, there’s reason to worry. Since October 2017, the PMU has had the political and military upper hand in Sinjar and is providing a corridor for Iran to gain access to Syria, through territory the militia wrested from the Islamic State. In the past year, the PMU has also seized additional areas along the Syrian border. External forces will continue to fight for strategic control of Sinjar as long as the Iraqi government remains weak.

The PMU dismisses the notion that it’s trying to gain regional power. “If we wanted to use Sinjar Mountain to control Israel or for any other purpose it would be something to be discussed in the future,” Khala Ali, a PMU commander told FP. He acknowledged that Iran had directed the group to have a stronger presence in the region but refused to elaborate.

The Iraqi Army, meanwhile, has assured civilians that the area is safe, telling FP that the only reason Sinjar isn’t fully under its control is because of a lack of troops, said Maj. Gen. Najim Abdullah al-Jubouri, the Nineveh Operations commander.

Meanwhile, thousands of Yazidis who fled their homes four years ago remain wary and unconvinced, as painful memories of being abandoned and left to die by the Iraqi and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces when the Islamic State attacked, remains singed in their minds.

More than 3,000 people are still sheltering on the side of the picturesque mountain range, preferring to brace for another cold winter in tattered tents than return to their homes. On a visit to Sinjar in October, more than a dozen Yazidis said they don’t trust any of the armed groups at the base of the mountain.

“If they don’t bring us an international force we won’t go back,” said Baraket Hudeda Castle. The 38-year-old Yazidi, a former officer in the Iraqi Army, was once a captive of the Islamic State and has been living on the mountainside since his family paid the jihadi group $60,000 for his release in the summer of 2014. “They told me they were going to cut off my head and mail it to my relatives,” he said, cringing as he recounted the month he spent as a captive in Syria.

Herto Hamrash Minut, 74, was kidnapped by Islamic State fighters in his village near Sinjar four years ago and held for more than eight months. “They’d starve us; it was like living in hell,” he said, hanging his head. Crouched outside his tent on the mountain surrounded by his two wives and 12 children, the frail old man traced his fingers over his ears. He lost most of his hearing during his time in captivity when his captors would hit him over the head. Minut’s family has been living on the mountain for more than a year with no plans to leave; they don’t even know who is responsible for their safety.

Most Yazidis on the mountain are pinning their hopes for a new future on one of their own. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize co-winner, Nadia Murad, is from Sinjar district, and was recognized for her efforts to end sexual violence as a weapon of war. Murad was one of an estimated 6,500 Yazidi women and girls abducted and sold into sexual slavery when the Islamic State attacked in 2014. She managed to escape and make her way to Germany, where she now lives as a refugee and runs Nadia’s Initiative, an advocacy organization.

“We suffered but didn’t give up. We were not helped and rescued when ISIS attacked, but I hope this recognition means that the international community will help us recover from this genocide and will prevent such attacks against other communities like us in the future,” Murad told FP.

The 25-year-old is donating all her prize money to the organization and hopes the award will convince the Iraqi government as well as other countries to form a special task force to rescue the estimated 3,000 remaining Yazidi women and girls still held captive. Her organization is concerned that if real steps aren’t taken to help the community recover from the genocide that the Yazidis will forever disappear from the region.

“She was the first person to speak out and be courageous and talk about what happened to us. The most important thing she can help us do now is to bring back the Yazidi prisoners and help clean our land,” said Morat Alias, a Yazidi living on the mountain.

In October, the United States announced it was giving more than $178 million to support vulnerable communities in Iraq, specifically focusing on religious minorities, bringing the total amount of U.S assistance for vulnerable communities to nearly $300 million since the 2017 fiscal year, according to the State Department. But despite such shows of support, reconstruction in Sinjar is sluggish and a deeply skeptical Yazidi community is still too terrified to return, nervous that they’ll be targeted again.

Littered throughout the city’s dilapidated streets, remnants of the Islamic State’s brutal reign linger while fresh pledges of allegiance continue to surface posing a constant reminder that nearby sleeper cells lurk in the dark. Scribbled on the side of a house read the words, “ISIS will stay forever,” written in August by a 12-year-old boy, according to a neighbor.

“I think one day ISIS will come back,” said Qasim Morat, a local living
in Sinjar. “It’s an ideology and you can’t get rid of them by killing.”


https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/23/is ... dia-murad/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:28 am

Nobel laureate Murad urges Iraq
to probe fate of abducted Yazidis


Nobel laureate and former jihadist captive Nadia Murad called on Iraq Wednesday to create a special team to investigate the fate of other members of her Yazidi minority kidnapped by the Islamic State group

The 25-year-old, the first Iraqi to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, made the appeal during a visit to Baghdad.

"I'm very happy because three years ago I left Iraq physically and mentally exhausted. Today I've returned with a Nobel Peace Prize hoping it brings peace to Iraq," she said during a meeting with President Barham Saleh.

She called on Iraqi authorities to "build a specialised team to work with the international anti-jihadist coalition on the fate of Yazidis kidnapped by IS."

Murad was jointly awarded the Nobel prize in Oslo on Monday with Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege for her work to highlight the plight of Iraq's Yazidis.

Like thousands of other Yazidi women and girls, Murad was abducted by IS in 2014 as the jihadists overran the minority's stronghold of Sinjar in northern Iraq, close to the border with Syria.

They were held captive, tortured, raped and sold as sexual slaves by the jihadists.

More than 3,000 Yazidis are still missing, probably still held as captives, according to Murad.

IS captured large swathes of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in 2014, proclaiming a "caliphate" in land it controlled.

The jihadists have since lost most of their territory to offensives by multiple forces in both countries, retreating to desert holdouts.

Murad said she planned to speak to officials in Baghdad about the "unknown fate of Sinjar and the Yazidi population", noting that more than 80 percent of the minority still lived in camps and lacked basic necessities.

She said her "fight" today is to make sure the atrocities committed by IS against the Yazidis are recognised as a genocide.

"I'm wearing my Nobel Peace Prize in Baghdad to say to all Iraqis 'you are the most worthy of peace, so be peaceful to Iraq and to each other, and to the Yazidis and other Iraqi minorities who illustrate Iraq's rich cultural heritage'," she said.

For his part, Saleh stressed that "the rebuilding of Sinjar, delivering justice to the victims and examining the fate of the kidnapped are priorities".

The time has come for the Iraqi parliament to pass a law considering the crime of Sinjar as a genocide against the Yazidis

https://www.france24.com/en/20181212-no ... ed-yazidis
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