On August 3, 2014, the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) carried out a brutal ethnic cleansing of the Ezidi people in the regions of Sinjar and Nineveh in northern Iraq, murdering as many as 5,000 men and enslaving more than 6,000 women and children. As many as 2,640 people remain in the hands of their ISIS captors. And some 300,000 people who were forced to flee the violence remain displaced both inside Iraq and abroad.
Nine years after escaping ISIS’ genocidal fury, Ezidi survivors are slowly returning from camps for internally displaced people to the ruins of their villages at Mt. Sinjar. Now, they once again face the threat of retaliation from ISIS as they wait in vain for the reconstruction of their communities and the return of their loved ones nearly a decade after the brutal genocide.
The U.S. recognition of the genocide was a crucial step toward accountability – but it is not sufficient.
Nine years on, Refugee International urges the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, and those countries who recognized the Ezidi genocide to reaffirm their dedication to international justice and peace through:
- Collaboration with the Iraqi government to free Sinjar from the conflict and ensure the safe and sustainable return to and peaceful reconstruction of the Ezidi community in its homeland.
- The establishment of a UN regional office and human rights defense team in Sinjar to document and monitor the local political situation, address human rights violations, and identify early warnings of harmful speech and acts.
- The prosecution of the Ezidi genocide’s perpetrators by countries that recognized the Ezidi genocide.
- Enhanced support for Ezidi refugees worldwide through family reunification and assisting Ezidi’s collective healing and integration in their host countries.
- Strengthened protection in host countries for Ezidi refugees and activists in exile who are increasingly targets of violent attacks, particularly in France, Germany, and the Netherlands
To mark the ninth anniversary of the genocide, Ezidi genocide survivor and Refugees International Fellow Farhad Shamo Roto released the following statement:
“The genocide defined my life and taught me lessons as to what peace means. Nine years later, we are still waiting for our loved ones to be liberated from captivity and others to get a dignified burial following the exhumation of mass graves. We want justice and need peace.”
For more information or to schedule an interview with Farhad, please contact Sarah Sheffer at email@example.com.
Featured Image: Yazidi women kidnapped by ISIS are reunited with their families after 9 years during a ceremony held at the Azadi Panorama park in Duhok, Iraq. Photo by Ismael Adnan Yaqoob/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.