Justice for Yezidi / Yazidi Survivors of Genocide

by Free Yezidi Foundation
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Justice for Yezidi / Yazidi Survivors of Genocide
Justice for Yezidi / Yazidi Survivors of Genocide
Justice for Yezidi / Yazidi Survivors of Genocide
Justice for Yezidi / Yazidi Survivors of Genocide
Justice for Yezidi / Yazidi Survivors of Genocide




Dear friends,

Please read below for our news and updates for the month of February.

This month the Netherlands prosecution office issued its first ever indictment of a Dutch citizen, Hasna A., for crimes committed against a Yezidi in the context of the Yezidi Genocide perpetrated by ISIS.

FYF has been working closely with Dutch police and prosecution authorities to scale up support for investigations and community outreach, with the view of advancing prosecutions. In its statement, FYF explained: "This is the first case in the Netherlands to judge atrocities committed by an ISIS member against a member of the Yezidi community, following several high-profile cases in Germany. Although there has been considerable delay, we nonetheless thank the Dutch prosecutors for opening this first case and helping to ensure that justice is done." Prominent Dutch Member of Parliament Pieter Omtzigt contributed to the FYF statement, writing, "A state under the rule of law can only be seen as such if it punishes the most horrific crimes, such as crimes against humanity and genocide...the Netherlands will have to face the fact that Dutch nationals participated [in such crimes]."

The Dutch Human Rights Ambassador Bahia Tahzib-Lie visited FYF's Enterprise & Training Center for a private meeting with Yezidi organizations and to see the living conditions of displaced Yezidi IDPs. FYF and other Yezidi organizations highlighted challenges facing Yezidis who seek to return to Sinjar as well as those who remain displaced. The Ambassador focused on the importance of Yezidi land rights and the progress of the Yezidi Survivors' Law implementation. The delegation expressed solidarity with the Yezidi community and thanked civil society for its work and sharing perspectives.

Meeting participants (in alphabetical order) were: the Eyzidi Organization for Documentation, Free Yezidi Foundation, Sinjar Academy, and Yazda.

FYF Executive Director Pari Ibrahim speaks at opening event of IRF Summit in Washington

FYF again participated in the Washington-based international religious freedom (IRF) summit this year. FYF Executive Director Pari Ibrahim represented the Yezidi community at the opening event, held at the US Congress, where a number of other persecuted groups, such as Rohingya and Uygher, explained the human rights violations their communities have suffered. Ms. Ibrahim also joined a panel discussion, where she focused on the critical role of justice and accountability in the aftermath of religious-based mass atrocities.


FYF hosted British Member of Parliament Brendan O'Hara at its centers in Khanke and Sheikhan. Mr. O'Hara leads the UK Parliament's all-party group on Yezidis. Human rights lawyer Dr. Ewelina Ochab, Bellwether International Executive Director Rachel Miner, and Yezidi Emergency Services President Anne Norona also visited. The FYF team reviewed a number of topics, including efforts to combat gender-based violence, impact of prolonged displacement, the FYF Enterprise & Training Center model for business development and skill-building, and other topics.


Aftermath of fire in Yezidi IDP camp
This month a fire in the Chamishko IDP camp took the lives of two Yezidi children. FYF and other Yezidi organizations and activists have been outspoken about the need for better housing options and at least better accessibility to fire extinguishers for those living in IDP camps. Thousands of displaced Yezidis are suffering from prolonged and protracted displacement, and fires in IDP camps regularly decimate families and lead to painful deaths. We continue to work with UNHCR and camp managers to urge improvements of IDP living conditions.
FYF's team was busy with meetings all month. Some examples below, from top:
  • UNITAD training for FYF staff on self-care and combating vicarious trauma
  • FYF meeting with Dutch Consul General in Erbil
  • FYF meeting with US human rights officer in Erbil
  • FYF meeting with Japanese Ambassador to Iraq on Japan National Day
  • UN meeting with FYF and other women-led organizations in Duhok
  • FYF meeting with South Korean Consul General in Erbil
  • FYF meeting with American activist Nadine Maenza

Thank you all, as always, for your steadfast support of FYF and the Yezidi community.


Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation

Gatestone Institute | The Newswashing of ISIS Bride Shamima Begum | This article includes FYF's analysis of female ISIS members.

Ezidi24 | A Victory for the Yezidi Cause: A Dutch Trial Opens the Door for Calls for Internationalization | The article (in Arabic) reviews the court case of Hasna A. in the Netherlands, quoting the FYF statement.

Kurdistan24 | Dutch to Prosecute First ISIS Female Suspect for Enslaving Yezidis | This article quotes FYF's statement on the first such case in the Netherlands.
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Dear friends,

Happy New Year! Please read below for January news and updates.



Prominent Iraqi Judge Qasim Al-Aboudi visited the Yezidi community at FYF's Enterprise & Training Center, accompanied by other officials and UN (UNITAD) team members. FYF Country Director Hewan Omer and other staff members spoke in detail with the delegation about a number of matters, including the value of Yezidi-led business, enterprise, education, and training to improve the future of the community in the next generation.

In addition, the judge and the delegation also discussed Yezidi recovery and the difficult topic of children born to Yezidi women from rape. The judge expressed his sympathy to the Yezidi community and solidarity. FYF expressed its gratitude to all those officials who understand the complex matters facing individual survivors and the surviving community as a whole, and supported continued dialogue with judicial officials to guarantee rights of all those affected by the ISIS atrocities. FYF also thanked UNITAD for its continued engagement and support.

This month FYF spearheaded a campaign to inform Council of Europe parliamentarians in advance of 23 January debate on the situation of European ISIS members. Yezidi and other religious and ethnic minority community call for justice and accountability to remain a primary consideration in the European approach to its nationals who joined ISIS. The full text of the letter, co-issued by dozens of organizations and individuals, is available here.

An excerpt: "Perpetrators of genocide returning to Europe with their families, while escaping accountability for their crimes, is a travesty of justice – especially as the surviving communities struggle to rebuild their homeland and remain in camps or makeshift shelters. Affected communities in Iraq and Syria, including Yazidi, Christian, and other religious and ethnic minority components, rely on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe members to act in solidarity and support of the victimized populations – not the perpetrators – and ensure Daesh members do not escape justice."

Photo by Rodi Said / Reuters

Germany formally recognized the Yezidi Genocide on 19 January 2023. This decision was warmly appreciated by the Yezidi community.

FYF stated, "Genocide recognition by countries around the world is important to Yezidis because it helps us to establish an incontrovertible record of the crimes that were perpetrated against our community. In 2014, ISIS intentionally acted to eradicate the Yezidi people...Germany has also been the unquestioned global leader at mobilizing universal jurisdiction in the indictment and trial of individual ISIS members for their atrocity crimes against Yezidi, taking these crimes seriously and treating them beyond the terrorism lens."




Original Yezidi artisanal pieces serve as backdrop. Photo on left by Sarah Nixon, on right by Ben Van Duin
FYF assisted the Dutch theater troupe, Toneelgroep Maastricht, in their efforts to perform a play, entitled Schuld, about the Yezidi Genocide. The team traveled to our center in Khanke to purchase custom-ordered rugs and carpets, produced by Yezidi women, for the set, which recently finished running. Sarah Nixon, of the production team, conveyed the following to the FYF team:

“I wish you and your amazing, talented artist weavers could have seen the result and could have heard the reactions from the audience. We had so many people who were moved and also shocked by this story. And to learn more about the story of the Yezidi people. I am grateful that the audience could see on stage something that actually came from Iraqi Kurdistan and was made by Yezidi hands. We received many, many compliments on the amazing carpets.”
Since we announced the FYF initiative to provide birthday parties for less fortunate displaced Yezidi children, we have raised enough funds to host 39 parties! Here are some recent birthday photos from the Sugar is Sweet cafe. If you would like to participate, click here.

Thank you all, as always, for your steadfast support of FYF and the Yezidi community.


Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation

Independent Catholic News | Turkey: Calling Erdogan's Bluff | FYF board member Rebecca Tinsley authored this piece, which also quotes FYF on the location of missing Yezidis.

Kurdistan 24 | German Parliament Formally Recognizes Genocide against Yezidis | This article quotes the FYF reaction to Germany's genocide recognition.
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FYF"s Country Director, Hewan Omer, distributes clothing to Yezidi IDP children


Dear friends,

Please read on for the Free Yezidi Foundation's news and updates for the month of December. We would also like to wish you, our friends and allies, a happy holiday season and Happy New Year.

FYF is currently implementing a project to provide holistic care to members of the Yezidi community in need, including survivors of sexual violence and also those who struggle with the pain of the crimes committed against their family members. For each of the nearly three thousand Yezidis who remain missing and unaccounted for, family members remain in limbo and struggle with the uncertainty of what happened to their loved ones. See below for the story of one FYF beneficiary, whose name and identifying features have been changed. It is important that services are available to all members of the community, as the trauma facing Yezidis is extensive and multi-layered.


The Netherlands Consulate General invited FYF Country Director Hewan Omer to attend a film screening in Erbil. After the screening, FYF had the opportunity to spend some time with the Netherlands officials and discuss current challenges and priorities for the Yezidi population. FYF has a longstanding relationship with the Netherlands Embassy in Iraq and Consulate in the Kurdistan Region.

During the Yezidi holiday in December a Yezidi cemetery in Afrin, Syria, was vandalized and several graves desecrated. This in itself is an abhorrent act of intolerance, but it also symbolizes the existential risk that extremists in Syria and Iraq pose to the religious minority communities, especially Yezidis.

Afrin had been a relatively inclusive and peaceful enclave in Syria only a few years ago, with a sizable Yezidi population. However, in January 2018, Turkey began an assault on this previously peaceful area in Northwest Syria. Now that Turkish-backed militias and extremists control Afrin, most of the minority population has fled, and it is now a hotbed for Islamic extremism. Yezidis mourns the destruction of the community in this area and the hatred and intolerance demonstrated by the destruction of the Yezidi cemetery this year to mark the Yezidi holiday.

The Free Yezidi Foundation has nearly reached its 2022 holiday fundraising goal! We have now received just over $40,000 in donations from friends and allies, and we are hoping to reach $50,000. If you plan on making an end-of-year charitable donation this holiday season, we ask that you please consider the Free Yezidi Foundation. Donations are 100% tax-deductible.
Yezidis celebrate an important holiday in December, Ida Ezi. The holiday includes three days of fasting and then a celebration, usually marked by a meal, or feast. A generous Yezidi individual living in Duhok make a cash donation to FYF to provide materials and food to less fortunate Yezidi families this holiday season. The FYF team distributed goods to 13 families in great need to help make their holiday a little bit brighter. 

Some items distributed by FYF appear in truck above, near FYF's facility, with the IDP camp in the background
Thank you all, as always, for keeping up with our news and work, and for your steadfast support of FYF and the Yezidi community. Happy holidays!


Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation

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FYF field leadership and project managers participate in team building exercise


Dear friends,

Please read on for the Free Yezidi Foundation's news and updates for the month of November.

The Free Yezidi Foundation has been engaged in the pursuit of justice and accountability in the aftermath of the Yezidi Genocide for several years. This painstaking effort is done in a confidential manner, to protect the rights of survivors and the safety of team members. Below are some public-facing meetings and developments that we can share.
This month FYF's lead investigator and justice project co-manager in the field, Ms. Waheeda Omer, received her investigator's certificate from the prestigious Institute for International Criminal Investigators (IICI) in The Hague, Netherlands. The IICI is a renowned global center for international crime investigation training. Waheeda is a young Yezidi professional from Sinjar, and she has been progressively growing within FYF's justice team for years. She successfully applied for a scholarship to attend the IICI training, and is the only Yezidi from Iraq to complete this course (to our knowledge). Waheeda self-funded her trip, and we applaud her dedication and commitment to learning and advancing justice for the Yezidi people.
In late November FYF Executive Director Pari Ibrahim met with US Ambassador Beth Van Schaack. Ambassador Van Schaack heads up the State Department's Global Criminal Justice office, which funds much of FYF's justice work. She has been a great advocate for justice in the aftermath of the Yezidi Genocide.

Separately, Pari met with the head of UNITAD, Special Advisor Christian Ritscher. UNITAD is the UN mechanism developed to pursue justice and accountability for ISIS atrocities. FYF works very closely with UNITAD, meeting regularly at field and headquarters levels. In the meeting, FYF reviewed progress and challenges in the pursuit of justice.
FYF also works closely with IIIM, the mechanism developed by the UN to investigate crimes committed in Syria. Many of the human rights violations committed against Yezidis occurred within Syria. IIIM recently published a detailed gender strategy and implementation plan, created after consultations with a number of civil society actors. As a women-led organization, FYF was pleased to offer views on gender and justice, which were reflected in the strategy. You can view the IIIM strategy document here.

Waheeda Omer completes IICI training, FYF meetings with Ambassador Van Schaack & SASG Ritscher, IIIM gender strategy

The US Consulate in Erbil holds a holiday bazaar every year for local artisans to market their products. Once again the Free Yezidi Foundation presented hand-crafted Yezidi items at the bazaar, including carpets, blankets, and Chonky stuffed animals. Our team collected $2,732 in sales! FYF uses a small portion of sales to pay for the operational and material expenses at the Enterprise & Training Center, while the lion's share of the proceeds go to the artisans themselves. FYF also participated in an event held by UNHCR in Erbil (pictured below). We are proud to support great Yezidi women artisans!

As the holiday season approaches, we ask friends and allies to consider supporting FYF. As FYF implements grants from governments and aid agencies, unrestricted support is immensely helpful to civil society organizations such as FYF. It helps to fund the operations, programs, and financial teams that ensure all initiatives and efforts run smoothly and effectively. If you plan on making an end-of-year charitable donation during the holiday season, we ask that you please consider the Free Yezidi Foundation. Donations are tax-deductible in the United States and the Netherlands.

Did you know FYF began with 300 Euro in Amsterdam in 2014, but now employs more than 100 people? To make sure our work focuses on field implementation, 92% of the team is field-based. To ensure we remain a community-led organization, 88% of the team members are Yezidi. As a women-led NGO, it is important that women are represented at all levels of the organization. Outside of support staff, such as guards, cleaners, and drivers, 82% of FYF's team members are women.
Thank you all, as always, for keeping up with our news and work, and for your steadfast support of FYF and the Yezidi community.


Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation

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Dear friends,

Please read on for the Free Yezidi Foundation's news and updates for the month of October.

The Free Yezidi Foundation continues to expand its Enterprise & Training Center products. In addition to carpets and rugs, Yezidi artisans are producing a line of stuffed animals - Chonky Animals - and other handcrafted items. Unfortunately shipping is currently available only within Iraq. If you or someone you know is in Iraq or the Duhok area, contact us to order your own hand-made item!

All items hand-crafted by Yezidi women artisans; all revenue after operational costs goes directly to the artisans

This month, we are highlighting the stories of some of the Enterprise & Training Center artisans who have chosen to share their stories publicly. You can see the full collection of Voices from the Field here.

Zereen Nasro (top, left) says, "My most cherished memories are from my work here at the Enterprise & Training Center. I have met women from all different parts of Sinjar, and we shared our sorrow and anguish...this has brought us closer together and has made us feel like a family here. I am proud to show everyone that Yezidis have skills, and we can succeed in anything we do, even though our people struggle from discrimination." 

Fluz Faris (top, right) says, "ISIS killed my oldest son. My most cherished memories are of [him]. His memories keep me going. I am doing everything in my power to meet every single need [of my grandson] in order for him to feel his father's presence in his life and for his father's soul to rest in peace. I am grateful for the work FYF does. Every time we sell a large number of crafts, we earn revenues that help us cover our monthly expenses."

Sulav (bottom, left) says, "I am a divorced mother of three daughters. When my eldest daughter graduated, she proudly wore the dress that I hand-made for her ceremony. It reminded me of the days back in Sinjar. Three years ago, I learned how to knit and weave, and this has allowed me to help support my daughters financially. In Iraq, Yezidis are vulnerable, and I would say women are also vulnerable. But we have made some progress now, and I am doing this for myself and for other Yezidi women, including as an example for my daughters."

Mayada Rasho (bottom, right) says, "I am most proud of my ability to fight for my life and my rights. I never had the opportunity to attend school, not even to learn how to read and write. When I was accepted to work on crafts and weaving, I was determined to learn everything I could. After ISIS set our lands on fire and killed our cattle, we had nothing left. I was devastated. This work has helped me and my family financially, but also helped me mentally. I want everyone in the world to know that [Yezidis] are welcoming people and in Yezidi culture we do not cause harm to anyone. I think the situation in Sinjar is very dangerous and not safe enough to return right now. But if we ever do, I will definitely open a market to sell Yezidi-made products."

FYF has been collaborating with the Netherlands prosecutors and police for international crimes regarding justice and accountability in the aftermath of the Yezidi Genocide. This month, the Netherlands government announced a public call for information, through a tip-line, on any crimes committed by Dutch members of ISIS against Yezidis. FYF's Pari Ibrahim was the featured speaker, along with Dutch police and prosecutors, calling for information to be relayed to the tip line. The information and videos are in Dutch, Arabic, and Kurmanci, and can be seen here.

FYF received a small grant to scale up team-building and self-care with the field team. As part of this effort, approximately 75 staff members gathered for a day-long session to spend time together, engage in fun activities, and enjoy a meal. The participating team members are pictured at the top of this newsletter.
FYF held trainings and workshops on the Yezidi Survivors' Law, Iraq's reparations program for Yezidi survivors. The trainings were attended by FYF staff, including lawyers, psychologists, and social workers based in three locations. The trainings covered the legal framework, application process, and ethical standards for supporting survivors. FYF will soon complete building its internal capacity, structures, and protocols and will provide survivor-centered support to survivors who wish to apply for reparations.

FYF was asked in September to help crowdfund for three-year old Maria, a Yezidi child suffering from a tumor in her neck. Doctors in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region were not able to perform the operations. FYF was able to raise more than $18,000, now delivered to her family, for travel and medical costs. The final disbursement was made on 20 October. We wish Maria and her family safe travels and a successful operation. Thanks to those of you who have supported this effort!

Thank you all, as always, for keeping up with our news and work, and for your steadfast support of FYF and the Yezidi community.


Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation



Opsporing Verzocht | Nederlandse IS'ers verdacht van genocide Yezidi's | FYF contributed to the Netherlands' police tip line and public request for information regarding crimes committed by Dutch members of ISIS against Yezidis.

The Gatestone Institute | ISIS Terrorists Living in Turkey - with Yezidi Captives | This article includes FYF's perspective on missing Yezidis, including those rescued in Turkey, and the responsibility of the international community to assist with identification and rescue of missing Yezidis.

Kurdistan 24 | Dutch Prosecutors Ask for Witnesses of ISIS Crimes against Yezidis  | FYF was quoted in this piece, which reviews the new Dutch public request for information about Dutch ISIS perpetrators.
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Free Yezidi Foundation

Location: Duhok, NA - Iraq
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @free_yezidi
Project Leader:
Pari Ibrahim
Duhok, NA Iraq
$33,888 raised of $100,000 goal
254 donations
$66,112 to go
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