Refugees International Condemns the Renewed Hate Speech and the Targeting of the Ezidi Community in Sinjar, Northern Iraq

Statement from Refugees International Vice President for Programs and Policy Hardin Lang:

“The Ezidi people have faced decades of persecution. In 2014, the Islamic State launched a campaign of mass violence and abuse against their community in Iraq. These crimes, including massacres, sexual assault, and enslavement amounted to genocide.  

Less than a decade later, the Ezidi are being scapegoated and vilified. Ezidi leaders and activists understandably fear that their community will once again be targeted and are sounding the alarm.  

The Ezidi people need and deserve a meaningful path out of genocide. At minimum, this means safety, security, and aid to help displaced Ezidis and their communities recover, return, and rebuild. Instead, this type of hate speech risks setting the stage for a slide back into violence.   

Today, more than 200,000 Ezidis remain internally displaced in Iraq years after Islamic State fighters destroyed their communities in and around Sinjar. Many still struggle with mental trauma after years of torture, inhumane treatment, and the struggle of coming to terms with the disappearance of family members. 

The government of Iraq and the authorities in Kurdistan Region of Iraq need to take urgent steps to push back against this hate speech and to provide security, basic services, and reconstruction for Ezidi communities. These authorities must ensure that the perpetrators of genocide are not able to threaten the survivors once again.

The international community cannot remain indifferent and complacent in the face of renewed threats against the Ezidis. Refugees International stands with the Ezidi community and civil society actors working to empower the Ezidi community.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Refugees International’s Vice President for Strategic Outreach Sarah Sheffer at 

Featured Image: On April 19, 2023, a displaced Iraqi woman from the Ezidi community holds photos of family members kidnapped by the Islamic State group. (Photo by SAFIN HAMED/AFP via Getty Images)