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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 » Wed May 13, 2020 10:36 pm

Separated by bitter choice
reunited by sweet chance


It isn't normal in the Middle East for someone to go homeless. People may be poor, and spend waking hours wandering the street in search of work, food, or spare change. But rarely would a person in need be turned them away from a home – neither stranger nor family. Not in normal circumstances, anyway

Ayshe Rasho's circumstances were far from normal. The 56 year-old Yezidi woman had been banished from her home a second time, and living homeless on the streets of Erbil. When her second husband died in September 2019, her stepsons felt no affection or need for her, and sent her out the door.

This was not her first time she had said goodbye to her family. In 1988, Ayshe had a different name and a different life. In the Al Qosh district village of Boza, in the Nineveh Plains, she was born with the Yezidi name Khafse, and was married with four sons. But that was not the life she had chosen.

In the Yezidi code, no one can covert to the religion, leave it, nor marry someone outside of it. If a person breaks the rules, they are expelled from the community and may never return.

The man Khafse was married to by arrangement was abusive and adulterous: she was one of 11 wives. Polygamy is legal in the Yezidi religion, and Khafse could not bear it. She could hardly expect what would await her in a life of excommunication.

She knew that the life she had in Boza was not the right one for her. So she left behind her family and set off to start a new life, of her own choosing. She married Mohammed Tahir, and taking the Islamic name Ayshe, settled in Erbil. They were happy together for 30 years. But when he died of diabetes, she was alone again.

One rainy night in November, around 11 pm, Ayshe was picking through trash at the Tayrawa bazaar in the north of the city. The stalls had been closed for hours, but the sick and elderly woman was there eking living out of a mountain of tarps and scraps collected from her days of roaming the streets.

People from the bazaar saw her roaming around alone and sought to get her help from a local charity. A Rudaw news crew was there to broadcast her story on television, and shared it on social media.

It was a routine news report, and Ayshe didn't care much for things like Facebook. She had no idea she would soon get the most important news of her life.

A hundred and fifty kilometers to the north, the next day's sun hung over Duhok as the clock passed three. Abdullah remembers the time, because he had just finished his afternoon prayers and was surfing social media when he saw it: Try as they may, videos on social media rarely shock or truly surprise a person. Even those that "go viral" have only a sliver of novelty that goes beyond the mundane. But this one struck like a bolt of lighting.

As he listened to the Rudaw journalist's story of an elderly lady, destitute and alone, he felt a prodigious sense of pity for the woman. Just the idea of a mother without a family lit a fire under his feet. But it was her face that gripped his attention. Perplexed by the strange feeling that he recognized this woman and her story, he couldn't stop toying with the thought that this mother without a family she could possibly the mother who had been absent from his life for so long.

“I immediately forwarded the video to my brother Fazan,” Abdullah recalled. He could hardly wait to hear if his older brother would confirm his inkling suspicion, so he dialed his phone immediately: "It's a sign from above – this is our mother."

Fazan was not so sure. It had been more than 30 years, and he was only ten years old young when he had last seen their mother. Abdullah had been only three. But he wanted answers. So he jumped in a taxi and head for Erbil to look for her.

For the next several months, Abdullah, a father of three, would search for the woman in the Tayrawa bazaar. Several trips between Erbil and Duhok passed without yielding any success. And like many choices people in this divided country choose to walk on, not everyone approved of the path he was walking.

Like his mother, Abdullah, too, had converted to Islam 11 years ago. He was cast out of Boza, and left the village for city life in Duhok. He and his brother are now Muslim, but their two other siblings stayed in the Yezidi community. Abdullah now works as a secretary for Nineveh Religious Affairs Endowment. He told Rudaw that since the day he converted to Islam, he has been searching for his mother.

To be a motherless child is to be eternally searching for something missing. “All my life I kept my eyes open as I turned every corner. I've been to Erbil, Duhok, Sulaimani, Mosul... but I never found her," he said.

Until one day searching, Abdullah finally found his mother.

“Thank God, I am not alone anymore, and neither is my mom," he told Rudaw at a short meeting to thank the cameraman who did the report that brought his mother's face to the screen on his mobile phone, crediting the crew for bringing them back together.

“I am so happy and glad that I have someone who cares about me now," Ayshe told Rudaw. "I have much respect for the people of Erbil city, and I bid farewell to them.”

There were no cameras to photograph the reunion. It was a bittersweet occasion, because the rest of their family still did not want to meet with her. Once she had left the Yezidi community, they refused to accept her back.

Abdullah doesn't blame his mother for leaving them behind to pursue her own path. Now that they've found each other in a new community, they have much to talk about. That family business is now up to them to reconcile.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/local/lon ... n-13052020
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri May 15, 2020 4:13 pm

Suicide rates increase
in Yazidi community


On the morning of March 9, Samir Hassan Ali left his tent in Khanke camp, a displacement camp for Yazidis near the city of Dahuk. Samir, who worked as a volunteer teacher at a school near the camp, always came back home right after work, but not that day. When his relatives saw his tent was still empty late afternoon, they called the police. It didn’t take them long to find his phone and wallet, next to the lake in Khanke. The next day, divers found his body in the water

It is unclear why Samir, who was loved for his optimistic character and was a popular teacher, committed suicide. His brother Haji thinks it has to do with the hopeless situation Samir found himself in. “Although Samir graduated from the physics department at the University of Mosul in 2013, he had never found a job in his field. To fill his days, he did a lot of volunteer work as a teacher," Haji said. “We have been living in a tent for almost six years. Our family is very poor."

Like many Yazidis, Samir’s family lost everything when the Islamic State (ISIS) attacked Sinjar in 2014.

Thousands of men were murdered, 6,470 women and children were kidnapped and sold as slaves in markets in what was described by the United Nations as an "ongoing genocide" against the Yazidi minority. Almost the entire Yazidi population fled to the Kurdish region, where they ended up in displacement camps. Almost six years after ISIS attacked Sinjar, 360,000 of the once 550,000 Yazidis in Iraq remain internally displaced.

In addition to trauma, desperation is one of the reasons suicide rates among the Yazidis is alarmingly high, said Firaz Suleiman, a Yazidi psychologist. “People have been living in tents or in unfinished buildings for almost six years now as they cannot return to their homes in Sinjar. Many of them are depressed," he said. “Two weeks ago, a woman committed suicide in Kabarto camp, and after that I heard about another case in Germany. Basically, you hear about a case every month, sometimes even three. It is a very big problem."

As a psychologist working for an international nongovernmental organization in the outskirts of Sharya camp, Suleiman has treated many members from the Yazidi community. From the 635 cases who receive mental health care outside the camps, 120 individuals planned or attempted to commit suicide, he said. He estimates that 10% of the Yazidi internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in Sharya are thinking about ending their lives. “But we don’t have any numbers on the total number of suicides as the Health Department doesn’t keep track due to privacy laws, and because the numbers have to come from aid organizations that are often working here temporarily,’’ Suleiman said.

Many suicide cases go unreported due to the stigma, he added. People feel ashamed to talk about their problems with a psychologist, especially men. Even if they want to receive specialized psychological and psychiatric treatment, there are not enough specialists to treat them.

“My sister Rasha got some form of psychotherapy for a few weeks, but it was not enough — she killed herself at the age of 18,’’ said her sister Delberin Khudeda, adding that many of her family members have suffered from mental health illness ever since they fled Sinjar in 2014. “It mostly had to do with the fact that she missed my brother so much; he was kidnapped by IS. But she also did not have any faith in the future as we were living in tents for years. She was crying all the time."

Although the authorities have no official statistics on the total number of suicides, Yazidi activists and doctors believe that the numbers have increased in recent months. The majority are young women and girls who in most cases where enslaved by ISIS. But there also is an increase among young Yazidi men, the various sources told Al-Monitor.

On Jan. 24, Anwar Khdir committed suicide by hanging himself in his tent. The 21-year-old student had been living in a displacement camp with his mother, four brothers and five sisters ever since ISIS conquered Sinjar in 2014. His father was killed during that attack. According to community members, Anwar could not handle the pressure of being the sole breadwinner for his family. “Never ask for the reason of my suicide. Please do not cry, mom,” Anwar wrote in a farewell letter to his mother.

Mirza Dinnayi, a Yazidi activist and head of Luftbrucke Irak, believes that the lack of prospects and poverty are the main reasons for the increasing suicide rates among men. “Like in most Middle Eastern communities, Yazidi men are responsible for taking care of their families financially. But how are you going to manage that when there are no jobs? The unemployment rate is extremely high in Iraq, especially among IDPs," he said.

Dinnayi said that inside the camps poverty is on the rise. He added, “Many families don’t even have money to buy dinner. The men feel confused and guilty."

Organizations working on behalf of minorities fear that the coronavirus pandemic will affect the displaced communities across the country, including Sinjar. Between April and August 2019, 24 patients who were brought to the emergency room of Sinuni’s hospital had attempted suicide — six of whom died before arrival at the hospital or could not be saved, Medecins Sans Frontieres reported. The youngest victim was a 13-year-old girl who had hung herself; some even set themselves on fire.

“These already traumatized communities now face restrictions of movement that will exacerbate underlying psychological distress that may lead to increased suicide rates," the organization wrote in a joined statement released on April 16, that was signed by organizations such as Yazda, the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights.

According to Khalil Khalaf Daly, a general practitioner at Yazda and at the hospital in Sinuni, the number of suicides in Sinjar has already increased after the government imposed restrictions of movement and home quarantine. “Most of them are young women who suffered from trauma caused by the genocide," he said. “But there are also cases where domestic violence or honor issues within the family play a role. Staying at home due to the coronavirus outbreak most likely will make their situation worse. Tensions will rise when you are confined at home."

To reduce the suicide rates and tackle other serious mental health problems among Yazidi IDPs, many measures must be taken, Daly noted. “First you have to make sure Yazidis can finally leave the camps and return to their homeland in Sinjar. Therefore, you need to provide security, stability and basic services such as water and electricity to the region. We need more government hospitals, schools and job opportunities."

In Sinjar region, there are currently only two hospitals and just one ventilator for a population of around 160,000 people. However, it is not the only reason why Yazidis are reluctant to return to their homes. Most of the area was destroyed and never rebuilt after the defeat of IS, and the region is currently run by different factions.

“The different parties distinguish among people," he added. "Some people get jobs and salaries from one of the parties, even though others are more qualified than those chosen. They are left without rights."

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origin ... icide.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue May 19, 2020 1:55 am

Prosecuting ISIS
returnees in Germany


An increasing number of "Islamic State" returnees are standing trial in Germany, including female supporters of the terror group. To make their case, federal prosecutors are relying on international criminal law

Taha A.-J.*, an Iraqi man believed to have belonged to the "Islamic State" (ISIS), has been standing trial in Frankfurt since late April on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. At the center of his trial is the death of a 5-year-old girl belonging to the Yazidi minority group.

The charges are based on statements by his wife, Jennifer W.*, a staunch ISIS supporter who lived with him in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. In 2018, she told a police informant that during her first stay in ISIS territory in 2015 she saw Taha A.-J. punish the girl, purchased as a slave, for wetting the bed. Jennifer W. alleged that he had chained the girl to a window in the scorching sun, where she died an agonizing death.

Jennifer W. has been on trial herself since April 2019, as she did nothing to save the girl. In that case, the girl's mother — also a slave in the same household — testified that she was forced to watch her daughter die.

Jennifer W. is accused of watching on as her husband killed the Yazidi girl

Unprecedented case

Taha A.-J. was arrested in Greece in May 2019 under a German arrest warrant and was transferred to Germany in October. His ongoing trial — the first against a former ISIS militant to deal with the ISIS genocide of the Yazidi — has attracted international attention.

Genocide is the most serious crime under international criminal law. But according to Alexander Schwarz, a Leipzig-based lawyer who specializes in international law, "the difficulty lies in proving that the individual perpetrators were actually determined to destroy an entire ethnic group."

Kurdish forces have shown evidence in Sinjar, Iraq, of what they think is a Yazidi mass grave

Schwarz told DW that Taha A.-J.'s trial is unprecedented. "For the first time, the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office is pursuing a purely international offence," he said, pointing out that the alleged act was not committed in Germany, that neither perpetrators nor victims are German citizens, and that the accused wasn't even on German territory at the time of his arrest.

International criminal law is becoming an increasingly important part of the work done by the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office. When the trial of the 35-year-old ISIS returnee Omaima A.* began in Hamburg on May 4, charges against her also included crimes against humanity. Omaima A., the widow of ISIS jihadi Denis Cuspert, who was killed in Syria in 2018, is also said to have kept a 13-year-old Yazidi girl as a slave.

After Omaima A. returned from the Syrian war zone in 2016, she lived a peaceful life in her hometown of Hamburg for three years. It wasn't until investigative journalist Jenan Moussa, reporting for Arab television network Al-Aan TV, uncovered the necessary evidence against her that charges could be filed.

With thousands of photos and videos found on the phone Omaima A. used while living in Syria, Moussa was able to retrace her life in ISIS territory in great detail, eventually producing a documentary about the German ISIS supporter.

Not just housewives and mothers?

The photos shown in the documentary — introduced as evidence at Omaima A.'s trial — show her alone and with children, posing with an AK-47 assault rifle and other weapons. Moussa's work also uncovered chat conversations with several men.

These documents show that the perception of female ISIS supporters as passive, easily influenced victims needs to be reconsidered, said Schwarz, the lawyer from Leipzig. "Numerous returnees — female ISIS fighters — were armed, with automatic weapons, AK-47 rifles or pistols," he said.

One of the photos uncovered shows Omaima and her husband Denis Cuspert inside ISIS territory

Many women also worked for the so-called morality police, controlling how other women dressed, behaved and lived under ISIS rule. According to Schwarz, the practice of keeping slaves was "an act that can be attributed to the female fighters, and was even predominantly practiced by them."

In order to issue an arrest warrant and charges, Germany's top judges have said that evidence of explicit support for ISIS, or proof that a person directly fought for the militant group, is necessary. Without this proof, suspects could go unpunished. It's exactly for this reason that many ISIS returnees have repeatedly claimed they were only responsible for taking care of the household and the children, and that they had no knowledge of reported atrocities.

Slave ownership has featured in other cases against ISIS returnees, including that of Sarah O.*. Details of her trial, which has been ongoing since October, have been kept from the public, as she was said to have been a minor when she allegedly committed the crimes she's been charged with. According to investigators, the now 21-year-old decided to move to ISIS territory in Syria at the age of 15.

In addition to slave ownership, Sarah O. has also been accused of having lived with her husband and children in apartments assigned to them by ISIS forces. That may sound harmless. Legally, however, this is considered a form of looting: if ISIS assigned jihadis to live in an apartment, that meant the previous residents must have been expelled or killed. This is defined as looting, or pillaging — and is thus a violation of article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Targeting female jihadis

This interpretation of the law was first used in the trial against Sabine S.* in 2019. She was sentenced to five years in prison for war crimes, mainly for taking possession of two apartments. Since last year, Germany's federal prosecutors have accused ISIS returnees of eight violations of the Rome Statute, with the looting charge particularly being used to prosecute female jihadis.

Sabine S. was the first woman convicted in Germany on looting war crimes charges

Lawyer Serkan Alkan, however, has been critical of the court's reliance on this charge. Alkan has represented several ISIS supporters in German courts, and told DW that women had no say under ISIS rule. "The idea that you could stand there, as a woman, and say, 'No, I will not take this house because it's a violation of international criminal law' — that's a rather utopian perspective," he said.

But federal prosecutors have been successful with this approach. Sibel H.*, from Aschaffenburg near Frankfurt, twice made the journey to ISIS territory, the first time in 2013. She returned to Germany the following year after her husband was killed, only to remarry an ISIS supporter and head back to the Middle East, where they had two children before she was captured. In spring 2018,

She was transferred from a Kurdish prison in northern Iraq to Germany, where she was eventually arrested and charged with the looting offense under international criminal law. On April 29, 2020, she was sentenced to three years in prison in Munich, where she is taking part in a reintegration program.

In the past five years, 122 ISIS supporters have returned to Germany from Syria or Iraq, according to government figures reported in late 2019. Of those returnees, 53 have been classified as a "potential threat," and 18 are considered "relevant persons," that is supporters or even leading figures within ISIS. Relying on international criminal law, Germany aims to make these people responsible for their actions.

*Editor's note: DW follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and urges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.

https://www.dw.com/en/prosecuting-is-re ... a-53457461

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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed May 20, 2020 12:57 am

UN investigation

UN probe has gathered 'significant' evidence against ISIS fighters who enslaved Yazidis

A UN investigator team says it has made "significant progress" in helping Iraq collect evidence against suspected Islamic State (ISIS) fighters who will stand trial over the enslavement and attempted genocide of the Yazidi people.

In a report submitted to the UN Security Council on Monday, investigators said they had gathered two million phone records and a trove of video and photographic evidence that will aid Iraqi prosecutors.

"In the coming six months, the team will continue its work with the government of Iraq in order to capitalise on this opportunity, with a view to securing the commencement of domestic proceedings based on evidence collected by the team," the report said, according to AP.

In August 2014, ISIS overran the ancestral homeland of the Yazidis, killing thousands of men in Sinjar and enslaving thousands of women and children in what the United Nations would later call a genocide. At the time, ISIS controlled about a third of both Iraq and Syria.

Roughly 2,800 Yazidis are still missing, according to the Yazidi Rescue Bureau in Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government.

UN investigators said their probe, in partnership with the Iraqi judiciary, security services and Directorate of Military Intelligence, has now reached a "pivotal moment" set to bring ISIS fighters to justice and fill information gaps in ongoing proceedings.

'A paradigm shift'

Included in the evidence are phone records that link the timing and location of specific IS fighters to the incidents they are being accused of. Investigators have also helped to preserve data storage units, images, videos and IS documents that would also be relevant for future prosecution, according to AP.

The data trove has "the potential to represent a paradigm shift in the prosecution of ISIS members,

The team said it has set up another two field investigation units that will look into crimes committed by ISIS against Christian, Kakai, Shabak, Sunni and Turkmen Shia communities in Iraq.

In September 2017, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to help Iraq preserve evidence for what "may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide" committed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS fighters are also on trial in Germany for crimes committed against the Yazidi people, including attempted genocide and the murder of a Yazidi child.

In February, Kurdish forces in Syria said they planned to hold trials for 1,000 foreigners in their custody who are suspected of having fought with ISIS.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/iraq ... ed-yazidis
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu May 21, 2020 12:12 pm

Investigators build case for
ISIS crimes against Yezidis


He was burly, with piercing blue eyes, and it was clear he was in charge when he entered the Galaxy, a wedding hall-turned-slave pen in the Iraqi city of Mosul. Dozens of Yezidi women and girls huddled on the floor, newly abducted by Islamic State group (ISIS) militants

He walked among them, beating them at the slightest sign of resistance. At one point, he dragged a girl out of the hall by her hair, clearly picking her for himself, a Yezidi woman – who was 14 when the incident occurred in 2014 – recounted to The Associated Press.

This was Hajji Abdullah, a religious judge at the time and labeled one of the architects of the militant group’s enslavement of Iraq’s Yezidi religious minority, who rose to become deputy to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He’s believed to be the late al-Baghdadi’s successor, identified only by the pseudonym Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.

A group of investigators with the Commission for International Justice and Accountability is amassing evidence, hoping to prosecute ISIS figures for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide – including Hajji Abdullah.

Hajji Abdullah was previously accused of involvement in the slave trade, most notably in a wanted poster circulated by the US setting a $5 million bounty on his head. But his prominence in the creation and oversight of the slave trade has never been spotlighted.

“ISIS fighters didn’t take it upon themselves to rape these women and girls. There was a carefully executed plan to enslave, sell, and rape Yezidi women presided over by the highest levels of the ISIS leadership,” said Bill Wiley, executive director and founder of CIJA. “And in doing so, they were going to eradicate the Yezidi group by ensuring there were no more Yezidi children born.”

CIJA shared some of its findings with The Associated Press. The group, through ISIS documents and interviews with survivors and insiders, identified 49 prominent ISIS figures who built and managed the slave trade, as well as nearly 170 slave owners, including Western, Asian, African and Arab fighters. These also include top financiers, military commanders, local governors and women traders, many of them from the region neighboring the Yezidi community’s villages.

The AP also put together findings from ISIS’s own literature, along with interviews with ISIS members, former slaves and rescuers, to establish how slavery was strictly mapped out from the earliest days, devolving into a free-for-all with fighters enriching themselves by selling Yezidi women as the group’s power began to disintegrate.

Leila Shamo displays tattoos she made while enslaved by Islamic State militants at her home near Khanke Camp, near Duhok, August 29, 2019. Photo: Maya Alleruzzo / AP

CIJA’s focus now is to build cases that courts can use to try ISIS members for crimes against humanity or genocide. Countries can prosecute militants for individual rapes or torture or for membership in a terrorist group. But to prove higher charges, they would need the contextual evidence that CIJA provides, showing the crimes were part of a greater structure.

“Practically every Daesh prosecution that has ever happened anywhere in the world is a material support case, a membership case,” Wiley said, using an Arabic name for the group. “Prosecuting high crimes could serve as a counter-radicalization tool for ISIS supporters.”

In the first prosecution on charges of genocide against the Yezidis last month, a German court brought an Iraqi national to trial for enslaving a Yezidi woman and her 5-year-old, who was chained and left to die of thirst. Meanwhile, a UN investigative team said it has collected evidence from Iraq, including 2 million call records, that can strengthen cases of prosecution for crimes against the Yezidis.

CIJA is sharing its findings from Iraq with the UN team and is pursuing more evidence from Syria, where ISIS made its last stand. The Syrian Kurdish authority holds perhaps the largest trove of material from the group, as well as some 10,000 of its members, including 2,000 foreign fighters, in detention.

Investigators’ steep challenge: documenting crimes committed over the course of four years against millions of people in different countries, while many IS members remain at large.

In the Iraqi city of Mosul, for instance, the crimes took place among a population of nearly 2 million people over three years, including enslavement, attacks on dissidents, destruction of cultural and religious sites and training children in jihad.

The Islamic State group’s narrative is that slavery is a justifiable consequence of battle during its brutal capture of Sinjar, a region west of Mosul known to Kurds in Shingal, as part of its attempt to establish a so-called caliphate.

But the AP determined, based on CIJA’s investigation and its own reporting, that the highest levels of leadership were directly involved in organizing an enslavement machine that became central to the group’s structure and identity. Governing institutions were enlisted, from the ISIS “cabinet” that constructed the slave system, the security agencies that enforced it, the bureaucrats and Islamic courts that supervised it, and propaganda arms that justified it.

Even as their caliphate collapsed around them, the militants made keeping their grip on slaves a priority. When slave markets proliferated out of the leadership’s reach, internal documents show ISIS officials struggled to impose control with a stream of edicts that were widely ignored.

A system of slavery

ISIS launched its attack on the heartland of the Yezidi community at the foot of Sinjar Mountain in August 2014. It’s unclear if Sinjar was attacked for its strategic location between ISIS holdings in Iraq and in Syria or with the specific aim of subjugating the Yezidis, an ancient sect considered heretics by the militants.

In any case, the results were devastating: During the week-long assault, ISIS killed thousands of Yezidis and abducted 6,417, more than half of them women and girls. Most of the captured adult men were likely eventually killed. Hajji Abdullah, an ethnic Turkman from Tal Afar, an area near Sinjar, was believed to be the highest ISIS judicial official in the area and so stepped in to play a key role in distributing slaves.

The women and children – their husbands and fathers butchered or missing – had to learn to navigate the perverse rules of a world where they were considered commodities for rape and servitude.

“For five years I lived with them. They beat me and sold me and did everything to me,” said the woman who witnessed Hajji Abdullah’s casual cruelty in the Galaxy wedding hall. She dug her nails into her arms as she spoke, her skinny frame carrying more memories than her years are meant to handle. The AP is not identifying her because she was a victim of rape.

A Yezidi woman who endured five years of captivity by Islamic State militants poses for a portrait in her home in northern Iraq, November 14, 2019. Photo: Maya Alleruzzo / AP

Now 19, she said she was raped by nearly a dozen owners, including al-Baghdadi, who owned her for months before he “gifted” her to one of his aides. The woman was rescued in a US-led operation in May 2019. She spoke to the AP in a northern Iraqi town full of Yezidi refugees, including freed women and girls who underwent similar horrors.

When Yezidis were seized, top ISIS commanders registered them, photographed the women and children and categorized them into married, unmarried and girls.

Initially, the thousands of captured women and children were handed out as gifts to fighters who took part in the Sinjar offensive, in line with the group’s policy on the “spoils of war.” Under early ISIS rules, war booty was distributed equally among the soldiers after the state took 20 percent, known as the “khums.”

According to survivors and CIJA, some fighters came to detention centers with pieces of paper signed by Hajji Abdullah confirming their participation in the Sinjar attack and entitling them to a slave. Women and girls also would be picked out to be raped by fighters, then returned to detention.

By early 2015, the remaining women were transferred to the Syrian city of Raqqa, the caliphate’s capital, and then distributed across ISIS-controlled areas, CIJA and survivors of slavery accounts showed.

The ISIS propaganda machine was mobilized to justify its revival of slavery. Articles, sermons and fatwas interpreting Islamic law were issued outlining how taking slaves was in accordance with Islam.

Islamic Sharia law traditionally allowed and regulated slavery, just as many societies did throughout history, but almost all Muslim clerics now say slavery is no longer permissible.

ISIS operated centralized slave markets in Mosul, Raqqa and other cities. At the market in the Syrian city of Palmyra, women walked a runway for ISIS members to bid on. Others, like the one in al-Shadadi, distributed women to militants by lottery.

A June 2015 notification reviewed by the AP called on ISIS fighters in Syria’s Homs province to register for an upcoming slave market, or “Souk al-Nakhassa,” giving those on the front lines a 10 day-notice to attend. Participants were told to enter bids in a sealed envelope.

The Soldiers’ Department, or Diwan al-Jund, recorded fighters who owned slaves, usually referred to by the Arabic word “sabaya.” For a time, ISIS paid fighters a stipend of about $50 per slave and $35 per child — equivalent to the stipend for a wife. The stipend eventually stopped, apparently because military defeats hurt revenues and because owning a sabaya became a sign of wealth and privilege.

Managing the robust system turned out to be more complicated than the leadership planned. And chaos abounded.

Slaves meant to be a reward to fighters were resold for personal profit, and some ISIS members made tens of thousands of dollars ransoming captives back to their families. Violence and abuse by owners led to rising reports of suicides and escapes among captives.

That prompted a flurry of regulations on ownership and sales, uncovered by CIJA and Syria expert and independent researcher Aymenn Tamimi.

As early as March 2015, ISIS officials in Syria’s Aleppo province banned posting pictures of Yezidi women on social media, trying to crack down on electronic markets that rescuers and smugglers often infiltrated to extract captives.

The CIJA archive contains a copy of an edict by the Department of War Spoils that banned separating enslaved women from their children, with a handwritten note ordering it distributed to all departments and provinces – a signal that earlier decrees had failed to stop the practice.

In July 2015, the Delegated Committee – effectively the cabinet – ordered all slave sales to be registered by Islamic courts, seeking to end sales among fighters. It also required the finance minister of each ISIS province to keep track of women between transactions.

The rules got only tighter as the leadership’s frustration over violations grew.

One directive set punishments for selling Yezidis to “commoners” – anyone not a fighter or senior ISIS official – and for ransoming them to their families. CIJA documented cases of senior officials dismissed from their jobs or punished with lashes for making exorbitant sums by flouting the rules.

Another document explained that only al-Baghdadi was in charge of setting policy on slaves and their distribution. A February 2016 edict required the Delegated Committee’s approval for any senior figure to own slaves – a suggestion that even top officials were abusing the sales process.

Abu Hareth, an Iraqi Islamic State preacher who owned Yezidi slaves, is led by Iraqi special forces to an interview in Baghdad, August 28, 2019. Photo: Maya Alleruzzo / AP

Captured ISIS militants offered a glimpse into the resistance the leadership faced in enforcing its rules. In the eyes of some in the rank-and-file, what they saw as their right under Islamic law could not be restricted.

Abu Hareth, an Iraqi ISIS preacher held in a Baghdad prison, told the AP that many fighters didn’t feel compelled to register sales in courts. “You have a product and you are allowed to trade in it,” he said.

Abdul-Rahman al-Shmary, a 24-year old Saudi who traded in slaves and is held in a Syrian Kurdish-run prison, dismissed the rules as rooted not in Islamic law but in the leadership’s need for control.

“It was about power and not for God’s sake,” he said.

Abu Adel al-Jazrawi, a Saudi who worked in the group’s War Spoils department and is now imprisoned in eastern Syria, put it bluntly: “Slaves were just the means for high officials to get rich.”

Taloo’s journey

Laila Taloo’s 2 1/2-year ordeal in captivity underscores how ISIS members continually ignored the rules.

“They explained everything as permissible. They called it Islamic law. They raped women, even young girls,” said the 33-year-old Taloo, who was owned by eight men, all of whom raped her. She asked that her name be used because she is publicly campaigning for justice for Yezidis.

After Taloo, her husband, young son and newborn daughter were abducted in 2014 and she and her husband were forced to convert to Islam, which should have spared them from being enslaved or killed.

But conversion meant nothing. “What is this all for? They never had a second thought about killing or slaughtering or taking women,” Taloo said.

Layla Taloo visits the grave of a Yezidi woman who took her own life after she was captured by Islamic State militants in Mosul, buried on a hill overlooking the Lalish shrine, September 13, 2019. Photo: Maya Alleruzzo / AP

The family was taken to the Iraqi village of Qasr Mihrab, along with nearly 2,000 other converted Yezidis. At one point, the militants gathered all the adult men and took them away. Their bodies were never found but are believed to have been thrown into a nearby sinkhole, where bones still can be seen. CIJA found that Hajji Abdullah was among the senior ISIS officials involved in the execution of the men.

Taloo was first sold to an Iraqi doctor, who three days later gifted her to a friend. Despite the rules mandating sales through courts, she was thrown into a world of informal slave markets run out of homes.

Her third owner, an Iraqi surgeon, woke her one night and had her dress and put on makeup so four Saudi men could inspect her. One didn’t like her ankles; another, a member of the ISIS religious police, paid nearly $6,000 for her.

That owner posted pictures of his slaves online and, every day, they were paraded before potential buyers. “It was like a fashion show. We would walk up and down a room filled with men who are checking us out,” Taloo said.

With each owner, she fought to keep her children safe. One man took photos of her then-2-year-old daughter, threatening to sell her to an Iraqi woman who couldn’t have children. ISIS was known to separate children from their mothers, using them as household slaves or child soldiers, changing their names and forcing them to convert to Islam.

One owner forced Taloo to have a baby then changed his mind and forced her to have an abortion. He also forced her to remove a tattoo she engraved on her skin carrying her husband’s name. Another owner forced her to use contraceptives. A third owner got her pregnant and she forced her own abortion.

Eventually, to free a relative, Taloo married a militant who turned out to be a senior ISIS operative. His long stints on the battlefield enabled her to escape: She paid a smuggler $19,500 she got from her family for passage out of ISIS-held territory with her children and sister-in-law.

Today, Taloo still visits the sinkhole where her husband is believed to be buried, and for the first time last year she visited the house in Qasr al-Mihrab, where her family was held captive. The house owners, who had fled the ISIS takeover, have now returned, unknowingly living among Taloo’s cherished memories of her family that was.

The rescuers

As their territory steadily diminished and defeat loomed, ISIS continued to crack down on members who, desperate for money, sought to sell slaves back to their families for large sums. Some fighters who did so were reportedly killed, survivors of ISIS slavery said.

Some 3,500 slaves have been freed from ISIS’ clutches in recent years, most of them ransomed by their families. But more than 2,900 Yezidis remain unaccounted for, including some 1,300 women and children, according to the Yezidi abductees office in Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region.

Most are believed dead, but hundreds of women and children likely remain held by militants, said Bahzad Farhan and Ali Khanasouri, two Yezidis who work as rescuers tracking down the enslaved.

For years, the two have followed slave markets on social media, contacting smugglers and searching out ISIS militants willing to ransom their captives to their families. Working separately, they have secured freedom for dozens of women and children.

Sitting under the shade of a tree at Lalish, the holiest Yezidi shrine in Iraq’s Duhok province, Khanasouri recounted how he managed to escape after being among about 250 people kidnapped by ISIS in his hometown five years ago.

With the help of a Tunisian ISIS member he encountered in captivity, he has developed a network of insiders and confederates in his quest to rescue as many fellow Yezidis as possible.

As ISIS crumbled, the rescue business was brisk as captors scrambled for money, “looking for buyers,” Khanasouri said. Now, with militants scattered – some hiding in deserts and caves or in sleeper cells – finding sellers is harder.

Wielding his phone, Khanasouri shows maps of likely locations of ISIS safehouses in Iraq’s western deserts, where he is certain surviving women are still held.

Other women are hiding, either by choice or coercion, among ISIS families housed at the al-Hol camp in Syria, run by Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Some captives have accepted their new identities, particularly Yezidi children who grew up under ISIS, Farhan said. Some women with children born to ISIS fathers don’t want to return home because their Yezidi community has shunned the newborns.

Khanasouri and Farhan have extended their search beyond the areas that ISIS once controlled, finding traces of women and children smuggled out by their captors who fled as far afield as Iran and Turkey. A Yezidi freed slave lost custody in a Turkish court of her nephew and niece who were found in an orphanage in Turkey.

At times, they said, Syrian opposition fighters have refused to return enslaved girls they come across in their territory.

One Yezidi girl, forced to convert to Islam and six months pregnant, was found in the northwest Syrian town of Azaz when fighters captured a Saudi ISIS militant transporting her. One of Farhan’s contacts, an opposition fighter, offered to bring the girl back to her family. But his commanders stopped the transfer.

“They said, ‘She is now a Muslim girl, why are you sending her back to the infidels?’” Farhan said.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/210520202
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu May 21, 2020 9:34 pm

This is similar to other recent article
What makes this article important is that it is in the widely read Mail


Yazidis recount tales
of being ISIS slaves


It was clear he was in charge when he entered the wedding hall-turned-slave pen in the Iraqi city of Mosul, where dozens of Yazidi women and girls huddled on the floor, newly abducted by Islamic State militants

He beat them at the slightest sign of resistance. At one point, he dragged a girl away, picking her for himself, a Yazidi woman - who was 14 when the incident occurred in 2014 - recounted to The Associated Press.

This was Hajji Abdullah, a religious judge and a key architect of the IS slave system. He later became deputy to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Many believe he is the late al-Baghdadi's successor, identified by the pseudonym Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. The US has a $5 million bounty on his head.

In this photo taken on September 9, 2019, Yazidi Layla Taloo poses for a portrait in the full-face veil and abaya she wore while enslaved by Islamic State militants, at her home in Sharia, Iraq. Her two and a half year ordeal in captivity underscores how IS members continually ignored the rules the group tried to impose on the slave system. 'They explained everything as permissible. They called it Islamic law. They raped women, even young girls,' said Taloo, who was owned by eight men

'They beat me and sold me and did everything to me,' she says. Raped by nearly a dozen owners over years of captivity, she was owned by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for months before he 'gifted' her to one of his aides. She was freed in a US-led raid in May, 2019. This photo was taken on November 14, 2019

Investigators with the Commission for International Justice and Accountability are amassing evidence, hoping to prosecute ISIS figures for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide - including Hajji Abdullah.

Bill Wiley, executive director and founder of CIJA, said fighters didn't just decide to enslave and rape Yazidi women; it was a carefully executed plan by the group's leadership.

'They put all of the apparatus of their so-called state behind carrying it out in practice,' he said. 'And in doing so, they were going to eradicate the Yazidi group by ensuring there were no more Yazidi children born.'

The investigators, who shared some of their findings with AP, say that through IS documents and interviews with survivors and insiders, they have identified 49 IS figures who built and managed the slave trade, and nearly 170 slave owners.

The AP interviewed former slaves, rescuers and imprisoned militants to build a picture of how slavery became central to ISIS structure.

Shamo, 34, has used her breast milk, charcoal ash and a needle to write the names of her husband, and two sons on the front of her hand and the inside of her right forearm: Kero, Aadnan, Aatman. On the inside of her left forearm, she wrote the date IS militants captured them all together: 8-8-2014. The mother-of-five tattooed their names and her date of capture on her skin to spite her captors and to never forget

When Yazidis were seized alive by the militants, top commanders registered them, photographed the women and children, categorized them into married, unmarried and girls, and decided where they would be sent. Initially, the thousands of captured women and children were handed out as gifts to fighters who took part in the Sinjar offensive, in line with the group's policy on the 'spoils of war'

The group's 'cabinet' constructed the slave system, security agencies enforced it, and Islamic courts supervised it. Still, it devolved into a free-for-all with fighters enriching themselves - selling women amongst themselves and back to their families.

CIJA's aim is to build cases so IS suspects can be prosecuted for crimes against humanity or genocide, not only charges of material support or membership in a terrorist group.

In the first prosecution on charges of genocide against the Yazidis last month, a German court brought an Iraqi to trial for enslaving a Yazidi woman and her five-year-old, who was chained and left to die of thirst.

U.N. investigators say they have collected evidence from Iraq, including two million call records, that can strengthen cases against perpetrators of crimes against the Yazidis.

Layla Taloo visits the Ninewa Palace Hotel, where she was once brought by her Islamic State militant captor in Mosul, Iraq. She was abducted by the extremists along with her husband and children - but once her husband was taken away, Taloo was sold to an Iraqi doctor, who three days later gifted her to a friend. Despite the rules mandating sales through courts, she was thrown into a world of informal slave markets run out of homes

Layla Taloo reacts as she visits a room in the house where she was held along with her husband and children after Islamic State militants captured the family in 2014, in Tal Afar, Iraq. It was the last place she saw her husband

ISIS launched its attack on the heartland of the Yazidi community at the foot of Sinjar Mountain in August 2014. The fighters killed hundreds and abducted 6,417, more than half of them women and girls. Most of the captured adult men were likely killed.

Initially, the women and children were handed out as gifts to fighters who took part in the offensive. Many fighters showed a receipt from Hajji Abdullah confirming their participation so they could claim their slave, former captives and CIJA said.

The remaining women were distributed across IS-controlled areas. The group operated centralized slave markets in Mosul, Raqqa and other cities. At the market in the Syrian city of Palmyra, women walked a runway for IS members to bid on. Others distributed the women by lottery.

Layla Taloo directs security forces digging in the garden where she buried her mobile phone and cigarettes while being held by Islamic State militants in 2014, in Tal Afar, Iraq

Layla Taloo is overcome with grief as her brother, Khalid, leads her away from the compound where she last saw her husband in 2014 after the family was captured by Islamic State militants, in Tal Afar, Iraq. Her family was taken to a village with nearly 2,000 other Yazidis forced to convert to Islam, before the men were taken away. Their bodies were never found, but they are believed to have been thrown into a nearby sinkhole

The Soldiers' Department, or Diwan al-Jund, recorded fighters who owned slaves. For a time, ISIS paid fighters a stipend of about $50 per slave and $35 per child.

Managing the robust system turned out to be difficult, however.

Slaves were resold for personal profit. Some ISIS members made tens of thousands of dollars ransoming captives back to their families.

ISIS officials tried banning separating women from their children and the posting of women's pictures on social media. They ruled slave sales must be registered by an Islamic court.

Layla Taloo visits the grave of a Yazidi woman who took her own life after she was captured by Islamic State militants in Mosul, buried on a hill overlooking the Lalish shrine in northern Iraq. Some 3,500 slaves have been freed from IS' clutches in recent years, most of them ransomed by their families. But more than 2,900 Yazidis remain unaccounted for, including some 1,300 women and children, according to the Yazidi abductees office in Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region

One directive set punishments for selling Yazidis to 'commoners' - anyone not a fighter or senior IS official - and for ransoming them to their families.

A February 2016 edict required the approval of the IS cabinet - for any senior figure to own slaves, a sign even top officials were abusing the process.

Laila Taloo's two and a half year ordeal in captivity underscores how IS members continually ignored the rules.

'They explained everything as permissible. They called it Islamic law. They raped women, even young girls,' said Taloo, who was owned by eight men.

Malak Saad Dakhel, an 11 year-old Yazidi, is overwhelmed by journalists and well-wishers as her family tries to comfort her after her escape from Syria, in Sharia, Iraq. She was captured by Islamic State militants in 2014 and was recently found at al-Hol camp living with a Syrian family

Malak Saad Dakhel, 11, is anointed by a holy man inside a Yazidi shrine as she is welcomed home by her relatives after her escape from Syria, in Sharia, Iraq

After Taloo, her husband, young son and newborn daughter were abducted in 2014, and she and her husband were forced to convert to Islam, which should have spared them from being enslaved or killed.

But conversion meant nothing. Eventually the men who converted were massacred, and Taloo and the other women enslaved.

'What is this all for? They never had a second thought about killing or slaughtering or taking women,' she said.

Despite rules mandating sales through courts, Taloo was thrown into a world of informal slave markets run out of homes.

The sun sets over Sharia Camp, where Yazidis displaced by Islamic State militants are housed near Dohuk, Iraq

Yazidi youth, dressed in traditional clothes, take part in a program to reacquaint them with their religion and culture at Khanke IDP Camp, northern Iraq. Some 3,500 Yazidi slaves have been freed from Islamic State militant clutches in recent years, most of them ransomed by their families

Yazidi women visit Lalish, the holiest Yazidi shrine, in Iraq's Dohuk province, in northern Iraq. During a week-long assault by Islamic State militants in 2014, they killed hundreds of Yazidis and abducted 6,417, more than half of them women and girls

A baby girl is anointed with water from an ancient spring by a Yazidi holy woman at the the Lalish temple near Sheikhan, Iraq. The ancient sect is rebuilding, nearly six years after Islamic State militants launched its coordinated attack on the heartland of the Yazidi community at the foot of Sinjar Mountain in August 2014

One of her owners, an Iraqi surgeon, had her dress up and put on makeup so four Saudi men could inspect her. A member of the ISIS religious police bought her for nearly $6,000.

That owner posted pictures of his slaves online and paraded them before potential buyers.

'It was like a fashion show. We would walk up and down a room filled with men who are checking us out,' said Taloo, who asked that her name be used as she campaigns for justice for Yazidis.

A Yazidi family poses for a photo at the door to the Lalish temple near Sheikhan, Iraq. The ancient sect is rebuilding, nearly six years after Islamic State militants launched its coordinated attack on the heartland of the Yazidi community at the foot of Sinjar Mountain in August 2014

Yazidi girls dressed in traditional clothes take part in a program to reacquaint them with their religion and culture at Khanke IDP Camp, in northern Iraq

In this photo from September 4, 2019, Abu Adel al-Jazrawi, a Saudi national in Kurdish detention who worked in the Islamic State group's War Spoils departments, which regulated the sale of Yazidi slaves among other things, pauses during an interview in Rmeilan, northeast Syria. Al-Jazrawi put it bluntly: 'Slaves were just the means for high officials to get rich,' he told The Associated Press

One owner threatened to sell her then two-year-old daughter to an Iraqi woman. He forced Taloo to get pregnant then changed his mind and forced her to have an abortion. Another owner impregnated her, and she forced her own abortion.

Taloo finally escaped along with her children and sister-in-law by paying a smuggler.

Some 3,500 slaves have been freed from IS' clutches in recent years, most ransomed by their families. But more than 2,900 Yazidis remain unaccounted for, including some 1,300 women and children, according to the Yazidi abductees office in Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region.

Some are still in Syria's Kurdish-held areas, living among ISIS supporters, or have melted into communities where their captors took them - as far afield as Turkey.

In this photo from August 28, 2019, Abu Hareth, an Iraqi Islamic State preacher who owned Yazidi slaves is led by Iraqi special forces to an interview in Baghdad, Iraq. Abu Hareth told The Associated Press that many ISIS fighters didn't feel compelled to register sales of Yazidi slaves in courts. 'You have a product and you are allowed to trade in it,' he said

Abu Hareth an Iraqi Islamic State preacher who owned Yazidi slaves is under guard by Iraqi special forces before an interview in Baghdad, Iraq

Abdul-Rahman al-Shmary, a Saudi Islamic State member who traded in Yazidi slaves and has been in a Syrian Kurdish-run prison since 2017, is led by guards to an interview in Rmeilan, northeast Syria. He dismissed the ISIS rules on slavery as rooted not in Islamic law but in the leadership's need for control. 'It was about power and not for God's sake'

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... zidis.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri May 22, 2020 8:35 pm

Yazidi genocide trial commences

Remarkably, for all the international attention on the plight of the Yazidi back in 2014 as Islamic State ravaged Iraq, it has taken until now, six years later, to bring the first charges of genocide

A trial commenced last month in a German court of a man accused of murdering a Yazidi girl traded as a slave by chaining her up in Falluja in 2015 and leaving her to die of thirst. Identified only as Taha al-J, he is also alleged to have held roles with Islamic State. The man’s German wife is also accused of murdering the girl in an earlier case that commenced last year.

The treatment of Yazidi women by Islamic State has also been investigated by Australian authorities, and the outcome of the German trial will be closely watched.

The case is of significance to Australia, which joined in the international campaign against Islamic State following 2014. The treatment of Yazidi women by Islamic State has also been investigated by Australian authorities, and the outcome of the German trial will be closely watched.

Last year, five Yazidi women unsuccessfully appealed to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for victim support payments over the treatment received while they were held as slaves in Raqqa by Khaled Sharrouf, one the most notorious of the Australian foreign fighters to join Islamic State.

Australian investigators have also interviewed Yazidi women in Europe, according to media reports, with a view to building a brief of evidence against other Australian jihadists who may have been party to their mistreatment.

Another recent development in Germany will have also caught the attention of Australian authorities. Last month, the German government decided to ban the pro-Iranian Lebanese Hezbollah group in its entirety.

Countries normally approach the Hezbollah in one of two ways: to ban it entirely or to recognise its political wing and ban its External Security Organisation (ESO) as a terrorist organisation. The US, Canada and, as of last year, the UK ban Hezbollah in its entirety. Australia only bans the ESO, as do the European Union, New Zealand and some others.

It is an artificial divide, of course, but it remains useful for Australia as the only Five Eyes country with an official channel open with Hezbollah (New Zealand does not have an embassy in Lebanon). Following the expanded ban by Britain last year, the Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she would re-examine Hezbollah’s behaviour, but no change was forthcoming.

With reconsideration of the ESO’s listing under the relevant legislation due in Australia next year, Germany’s decision will be noted. But what remains in Australia’s best interests is the key question – and there doesn’t appear to be any compelling reason to change the present stance.

https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-inter ... ntemplated
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 23, 2020 2:34 am

Education scandal

Teacher wage scandal puts schooling of Ezidis in Sinjar at stake

“I have been a lecturer for two years and they have stolen our wages. Now, they want to reopen the schools and start final exams,” said Madlin Hussein, an Ezidi lecturer in Snune, a sub-district of Sinjar, reaffirming that this injustice has made her concerned that she might not be able to teach the children with the same devotion she once had.

Issues of corruption and injustice toward Ezidi teachers have emerged as the spread of the novel coronavirus brought education to a halt. Because of a national lockdown, people are confined to their homes, which has disproportionately affected the education of minority children.

The controversy began with the disappearance of nearly 1.1 billion Iraqi dinars allocated for the salaries of teachers employed by the Sinjar Directorate of Education, which is under the jurisdiction the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). As a result, the teachers, who are mostly members of the Ezidi ethno-religious community, have not been paid.

The scandal began after the war of the Islamic State groups (ISIS) when the government recruited hundreds of teachers as a part of its efforts to return Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their homes.

Madlin Hussein, a graduate at the Institute of Accounting in Mosul, told KirkukNow, “I finished school during a challenging and miserable time and I had no job. At that time, the schools needed teachers so I became a teacher at an elementary school for two years.”

“We were just waiting to be paid throughout those two years… even God would not accept that. I did not even have money to buy clothes, but I continued teaching.”

Hussein taught four classes daily for which she was to receive 300 thousand Iraqi dinars (250 dollars) per month. She should have received at least six million dinars (5,000 dollars) for her service over the past two years.

The teachers’ salary scandal coincides with the outbreak of coronavirus, which has suspended education in the district of Sinjar, regarded as the historical homeland of the Ezidis.

The KRG has set June 1 as the date for reopening schools in the region after three months of closure. However, frustration with official corruption may cause teachers to boycott classes in Sinjar district.

Saido Shamo, who has been a lecturer for four years in the Grozir sub-district of Sinjar, claims, “most of the schools in Sinjar and Snune sub-district are run by the teachers, but [the government] stole our money.”

    Most of the schools in Sinjar and Snune sub-district are run by the teachers, but the government stole our money
Because of coronavirus, students in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region missed nearly half of this year’s curriculum and some of their teachers say they are not ready to open the schools’ doors.

“We will accept going back to classes and at least make up for some of the material that the students missed, but only if [the government] provides us with a little money so that we could afford our daily necessities. Otherwise, we will start boycotting the final exams,” Shamo insisted. Shamo lost his job due to the coronavirus lockdown and has no sources of income.

KirkukNow has obtained data showing that there are at least 400 teachers in Sinjar district employed by the KRG Ministry of Education. In the event of a teachers’ strike during final exams, Ezidi students’ education will be at stake.

The sum of one billion, ninety-eight thousand dinars was earmarked for the Sinjar’s education budget, and most of this was allocated for Ezidi teachers’ wages.

Halz Sa’id, a member of the Kurdistan Region Parliament’s Education Committee, told KirkukNow, “the former Director of Education in Sinjar, his brother, and the Director of Accounting began this scheme to embezzle teachers’ wages during the rule of the Islamic State group (IS) and the displacement of the people of Sinjar. The case has been submitted to the Integrity Commission (in Duhok) and an investigation is ongoing.”

The former Director of Education has fled, but his brother and the Director of Accounting have been arrested at the order of the Attorney General, who was recommended to do so by the Directorate of Education in Duhok.

Maysar Haj Salh, who has replaced the former Director of Education in Sinjar, told KirkukNow, “names of ‘ghost teachers’ were registered, and others did not receive salaries. [But] they received salaries as teachers for years.”

“If the money is reclaimed from the former director, we would distribute it to the teachers,” Salh said, “but if the money is not seized, then we will not be able to pay wages because the KRG is in a deep economic crisis.”

    If the money is not seized, then we will not be able to pay wages because the KRG is in a deep economic crisis
He mentioned that if the government decides to hire more teachers, the teachers currently on the payroll will have priority with regards to job placement.

The scandal has only affected the schools under the KRG Ministry of Education.

Earlier this month in a meeting of parliament, Alan Hama Sa’id, the KRG Minister of Education, said, “we have been combating corruption under orders from the prime minister and one [case] involves the directorates in Duhok governorate and teachers’ wages worth one billion, ninety-eight million IQD.”

    We have been combating corruption under orders from the prime minister
Shahab Ahmad, another teacher, called upon the KRG to distribute a portion of the wages to teachers so that this year’s education of Ezidi IDPs will not be lost to coronavirus and a potential teachers’ strike.

“If we boycott holding final exams, then this year’s education will be lost for the majority of Ezidi IDPs.”

http://kirkuknow.com/en/news/62284
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun May 24, 2020 1:31 am

I am furious UN cares more about the jihadist murderers than the long suffering Yazidis

UN committee urges France to prevent
execution of convicted jihadists in Iraq


The United Nations Committee against Torture has asked France to "take all possible measures" to prevent the executions of five French jihadists in Iraq in a letter seen by Agence France-Presse

In the Friday letter sent to lawyer Nabil Boudi, the committee said that it "requests the concerned state to take every useful and reasonable measure within its powers to protect the physical and psychological well-being of the convicted and to prohibit the application of the death penalty on account of these individuals."

The committee added that France "should continue to inform it without delay of every action taken in this regard."

This request falls within the framework of "temporary measures" that the committee may propose to any country pending a study of the content of the case. France has an eight-month deadline to provide "clarifications or notes" on the content of the file.

Nabil Boudi had informed the commission on February 4 of the status of Ibrahim al-Najjarah, Bilal al-Kabawi, Leonard Lopez, Fadhel Taher Aouidat and Murad Delhoum, who were sentenced to death in June 2019 for joining the Islamic State group (ISIS).

Their attorneys demanded the Geneva-based committee "take temporary protection measures in view of the urgency of the situation, with the aim of avoiding irreparable harm to the petitioners, who are victims of the lack of protection on the part of the French authorities."

The body confirmed to AFP on Friday that the convicts "receive inhuman and degrading treatment in Iraqi prisons," stressing that "France knows this situation and does not move to end it."

France previously denied involvement in the “illegal transfer” of French citizens suspected of ISIS membership from Syria to Iraq in February of last year.

Iraq declared victory over IS in late 2017 and began trying foreigners accused of joining the jihadists the following year.

The Iraqi judiciary has since tried and sentenced more than hundreds of suspected foreign members of ISIS to life in prison, and others to death. Iraq has also tried thousands of its own nationals arrested on home soil or repatriated from Syria for joining ISIS, including women.

The trials have been criticised by rights groups, which say they often rely on evidence obtained through torture.

Eleven French nationals arrested in Syria were sentenced to death in Iraq in 2019. Three others, including two women, were sentenced to life in prison for belonging to the terror group.

The country remains in the top “executioner” nations in the world, according to an Amnesty International report published in April.

Executions in Iraq skyrocketed by 92% in 2019, said to be attributed to the prosecution of suspected ISIS members.

Analysts have also warned that prisons in Iraq act as “academies” for future jihadists, including former leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed in a US raid in October 2019.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/230520202
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon May 25, 2020 12:10 pm

ISIS plays deadly games

Islamic State bombs disguised as video game controllers uncovered in Iraq

A new documentary, Into The Fire, follows Yazidi women who act as minesweepers to protect against ISIS attacks

A new documentary, Into The Fire, follows Yazidi women who act as minesweepers to protect against ISIS attacks

Islamic State scattered video game controllers set to explode at the push of a button in Yazidi homes as they were expelled from Iraq, a new film about the persecuted group’s brave minesweepers has revealed.

A photograph seen by the Telegraph shows a controller that, had it been picked up by a child and played with, would have detonated four bombs and destroyed the house where it was found, in northern Iraq.

It is one of a series of bombs disguised as household items unveiled in a new film covering the tense work of Yazidi minesweepers in Iraq.

The documentary, Into the Fire, follows Hana Khider, a Yazidi woman and team leader from the Mines Advisory Group charity.

“The controller was in a house in Sinjar district and was attached to four large explosive charges placed around the building, enough to completely destroy the house,” Jonathan Caswell, a spokesman for the Mines Advisory Group, told the Daily Telegraph.

Click image to enlarge:
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ISIS planted four bombs in a Yazidi home and left a video game controller out as a detonator. Any unwitting person could have triggered the explosions by pressing down on the controller

“Pressure on the controller buttons or joysticks would set them off simultaneously.”

Thousands of Yazidi women were enslaved and raped by ISIS fanatics at the height of the terrorist group’s power in northern Iraq, while many Yazidi men were killed.

Ms Khider and her team are now undertaking dangerous, painstaking work to deactivate millions of explosive devices that were planted in their communities as a means of spreading fear long after ISIS had departed.

“Hundreds of thousands of people remain unable to return to their homes to pick up the pieces of their traumatised lives,” said Portia Stratton, the Iraq director of the Mines Advisory Group. The charity says its work has assisted 1.9m people in Iraq since 2014 and has already removed more than 17,000 improvised bombs.

While there have been many reports of ISIS disguising toys as bombs over the years, the game controller boobytrap is unusually sophisticated.

The Yazidi women work tirelessly to free themselves from ISIS terror in Iraq

The terrorist group, which has been defeated on the ground but continues to launch insurgent attacks, also used teddy bears and playing cards to conceal bomb triggers.

The documentary was released in the same week that UN investigators announced they were at a “pivotal moment” in helping the Iraqi authorities deliver justice to the Yazidi community.

In a report submitted to the UN Security Council, investigators said they had gathered and preserved a huge cache of evidence including phone records, videos, and photos that could be used to prosecute captured ISIS fighters.

Last week, Iraqi authorities announced that they had arrested a high-ranking member of ISIS who was once one of the candidates to succeed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the group’s new leader.

The whereabouts of the current leader, Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi, are unknown.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/islamic-state ... 28040.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue May 26, 2020 6:22 pm

Facebook fundraising
videos help Yazidis


Volunteers from the Mustakbal (Future) Charity Foundation on Saturday handed out the latest fruits of their fundraising labour in the long-suffering town of Shingal

Mustakbal is a local project with international support in the form of Marwan Babiri, a Yezidi clergyman who lives in Germany.

Broadcasting Facebook Live videos encouraging people to donate to Mustakbal, Babiri raises up to 15 million Iraqi dinars ($12,569 USD) per video.

Mustaqbal say they've managed to raise 260 million IQD ($217,871) in the past three months alone, with funds going to over 4,000 families in Duhok IDP camps, as well as 1,500 families in the wider Shingal area – to families Muslim and Yezidi alike.

At the foot of a mountain range nestled on the Syrian border, Shingal was once a safe home to a vibrant Yezidi community. But the area bore witness to horrific atrocities when the Islamic State group (ISIS) overran the area in 2014, launching a genocide against the long-persecuted minority.

Five years have passed since Shingal’s liberation, and around 120,000 Yezidis have returned to the area – known as Sinjar in Arabic. But much of it still lies in ruins, and basic services have yet to be restored.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/25052020

The coalition spent BILLIONS destroying the area in a 'Kill Everyone Let God Sort Them Out' campaign, but has paid NOTHING to help rebuild that which they have destroyed

The Coalition have done the same in many places including Kobane and Mosul
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue May 26, 2020 6:27 pm

Alarm raised over spate
of Yezidi suicides in Shingal


Duhok province's Khanke camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) is home to the Hassans, a displaced Yezidi family from Shingal

Last month, the family lost 28-year-old Samir, a school physics teacher believed to have committed suicide by jumping into the River Tigris.

Samir had a BSc in Physics, and taught at the camp's school. His family have been left with no surface-level explanation for his apparent suicide.

"No one fought with him. He was doing well. He was getting on well with his brothers. Their financial situation was good. He had no problems," Samir's brother Hadi told Rudaw. He wasn't married, so it wasn't that he had family responsibility. He was doing well."

Camp officials aren't prepared to share data on suicides. Rudaw reporter Ayub Nasri spoke to a dozen sources, including NGO workers and managers at 14 IDP camps. From the data they provided, Nasri concluded that at least 15 Yezidis in Shingal have committed suicide since early 2019.

Many Yezidis suffered psychological trauma when the Islamic State (ISIS) group attacked their Shingal heartland in 2014. ISIS kidnapped more than 6,000 people and killed more than 1,200. More than 360,000 of the once 500,000-strong Yezidi community in Iraq fled their hometowns to camps for the displaced.

Harmful mental health repercussions have proven rife, with humanitarian organisations including Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) appealing for assistance in dealing with "a severe mental health crisis, which includes high numbers of suicides and suicide attempts" in and around Shingal.

In a recent study conducted by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), an international NGO offering psychotherapy to displaced people, 120 of 635 IDPs aged 15-25 were found to suffer from mental health problems.

"I can’t say a hundred percent of the suicide cases are caused by mental illness. I would say 90 percent of the cases are due to mental illness. When a social problem comes up and is not resolved, it will develop and lead to a psychological problem until they commit suicide.," JRS psychologist Firas Sleman told Rudaw.

Duhok’s Directorate of Displacement and Migration, which has been managing all 21 IDP camps in Duhok for three months now, has said it is investigating suicides at the camps.

"According to our plans and protocol, we are trying to reduce the number of the cases. We are setting a program in accordance with other directorates, including the Directorate of Health, the General Directorate for Combatting Violence Against Women, and all other relevant directorates to find a solution," Duhok displacement and migration director Manal Mohammed told Rudaw.

Viyan Ahmed is the Duhok province director of The Lotus Flower, an international NGO and a non-profit supporting women and girls impacted by conflict and displacement. The organisation has been working in Yezidi IDP camps in Duhok since 2014.

According to Ahmed, most of those who commit suicide are women.

“The number of the cases are too much, there are lots of suicide attempts in the camps which camp management doesn't record due to the social convention that it brings shame upon the family. That’s why they never reveal the attempts - even if a woman commits suicide, they will say she died of natural causes.”

The near exclusive focus on women who were subject sexual slavery and abuse at the hands of ISIS for programs of resettlement abroad or NGO support in Iraq has left other displaced Yezidi women neglected, Ahmed added.

“Those women were captured by ISIS group, and later released, live in a better condition. They are taken care either by their families or the NGOs. Some are given asylum in Canada or in the European countries, that’s why they live in better conditions than those who faced misery and difficulties during their displacement to the mountainous areas of Shingal. So cases [of suicide] of these women are growing higher than of those who were released from ISIS hands.”

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/260520201
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:56 pm

Will Yazidis Survive In Middle East?

2014 saw Yazidis in Iraq subject to genocidal atrocities. The crimes were perpetrated by Daesh, a terror group intent on the annihilation of the minority group from the region. Now, six years later, the minority group is facing yet another existential threat in the Middle East

On May 29, 2020, Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, sent a chilling warning that “Turkish-backed militias are silently carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Yazidis in Afrin, Syria. They are kidnapping women, killing civilians, and destroying houses and shrines.”

Similarly, Yazda reported that “due to their religious identity, Yazidis in Afrin are suffering from targeted harassment and persecution by Turkish-backed militant groups. Crimes committed against Yazidis include forced conversion to Islam, rape of women and girls, humiliation and torture, arbitrary incarceration, and forced displacement.”

Close to 80% of Yazidi religious sites in Syria have been looted, destroyed, or otherwise desecrated, including Sheikh Jened in Al-faqira village, Melak Adi temple in Qivare village, Sheikh Hussien shrine, and Chel Khana temple in Qivare village, Sheikh Rekab temple in Jedere village; their cemeteries defiled. Yazda further wanted that Yazidis in Afrin “are forced to hide their identity, unable to practice their faith, and remain frightened for their safety.”

The current situation is not a new phenomenon but a continuation of a situation neglected since the Turkish incursion into Afrin. Thousands of Yazidis have had to flee their homes in 22 affected villages. According to Yazda, approximately 3,000 Yazidis who fled Afrin now live in “three IDP camps and three villages: Al-Auda Camp, Al-Asser camp, Al-Muqawama camp, Tal Rifat village, Al-zawraq Al-kabeer, and Ziyarah villages – all located in Al-Shahba region and under the control of the Syrian Government.” Another 1,200 Yazidis fled from Ras Al-ain and to Washokani IDP camp are struggling to access humanitarian aid.

However, this is not just about the thousands of displaced persons, but also about the fates of each and every person affected. Nadia’s Initiative, an NGO founded by Nadia Murad, reported on a number of the concerning cases. Among others, they reported that Areen Hassan, a Yazidi girl, was arrested on February 27, 2020, from the village of Kamyar, Afrin. She has yet to be released. Ghazaleh Battal was kidnapped by Syrian armed factions loyal to Turkey and her fate is still unknown. Narges Dawood, a 24-year-old girl from Kemar, was killed by several bullets shot by Syrian armed factions loyal to Turkey. Fatima Hamki was killed after armed battalions threw a hand grenade at her house in the village of Qatma.

The situation require a comprehensive response. At the end of April 2020, the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its annual report, raised the issue that “religious minorities in… areas that Turkey seized earlier, such as Afrin, continued to experience persecution and marginalization, especially displaced Yazidis and Christians.” It called upon the U.S. Administration to “exert significant pressure on Turkey to provide a timeline for its withdrawal from Syria, while ensuring that neither its military nor Free Syrian Army (FSA) allies expand their area of control in northeast Syria, carry out religious and ethnic cleansing of that area, or otherwise abuse the rights of vulnerable religious and ethnic minorities there.” The U.S. Administration is yet to respond to the recommendation.

The Yazidis targeted in Syria require urgent assistance. This significant further attack puts into question the future of the community in the region. Can the community survive? Taking into account the recent targeting in Afrin, the atrocities committed by Daesh in Iraq only a few years ago, and other previous persecution, it seems unlikely.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewelinaoch ... 0859984d23
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