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

 

FYF Monthly Newsletter - June 2020Danger to Yezidis and Religious Minorities Escalates in Syria
 
Over the last two years, Turkey and Turkish-supported militias have committed countless violations in Afrin and in North East Syria. This has included wholescale demographic change and ethnic cleansing, looting, and destruction of houses of worship, with particular danger faced by religious minorities like Yezidis, Christians, and others. In the last months, several Yezidi women have been kidnapped. Turkey and Turkish-backed extremist forces, including former ISIS members, took control of Afrin in 2018 and parts of North East Syria in 2019. The Free Yezidi Foundation issued a stark warning in early 2019 of the calamitous impact that these invasions would have on the existence of religious minorities in the area.
 
Voices from the Field
 
FYF’s trauma team has been working to provide our beneficiaries with remote services during the current COVID-19 crisis. In this segment of “voices from the field,” we hear directly from our trauma team in the field about what it is like working with survivors in the displaced Yezidi community during the pandemic.
 
"During COVID-19 the suicidality we encounter within the Yezidi population has increased sharply. A main reason is frustration due to challenges by the prolonged stay in the camps, lack of employment, poverty, and hopelessness for the future. As a result there is an increased demand for trauma treatment.

The weeks of working remotely with our beneficiaries and team members proved to be challenging as the electricity and internet connection were not always stable. In addition, most of our beneficiaries did not have internet at all, so we had to work by telephone. Although we were grateful that we were able to support our beneficiaries during the lockdown, especially those suffering from severe trauma, we found telephone sessions challenging because we were not able to see their faces or make direct eye contact.
 
With the gradual relaxing of the restrictions, we were finally able to return to the Women’s Center and begin seeing our beneficiaries and team members in person. It felt great to be able to meet them face-to-face after so many weeks of working remotely.
 
Now the whole trauma team is back working at the center and in the field, though in a reduced capacity. As this pandemic appears to be with us for the foreseeable future, we are taking all the necessary precautions to keep ourselves and our beneficiaries safe by following physical distancing and prevention guidelines."
 
- The FYF Trauma Team

FYF staff providing beneficiaries with language courses at a reduced capacity. 

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FYF May Newsletter

Children in Khanke IDP camp celebrate the Yezidi New Year.

Dear Friends,
 
In April, Yezidis around the world celebrated the Yezidi New Year, despite the global challenges we all face. During this difficult time, FYF remains steadfast in our commitment to providing aid and support to Yezidis in need.

FYF’s COVID-19 Response

FYF continues to deliver protective equipment to essential frontline workers and IDPs living in and around Khanke IDP camp. Now more than ever, displaced Yezidi communities need accurate information and health guidance. FYF distributed hygiene kits and WHO recommendation flyers to more than 600 families, including single women and widows. Our hygiene kits consist of hygienic pads for women, antibacterial products, wet wipes, shampoo, and a COVID-19 awareness brochure. In addition, our team in Khanke began manufacturing and distributing protective masks to camp residents and essential personnel such as medical staff, doctors, checkpoint officials, government officials, and camp managers. We are working to increase our production in the coming weeks to meet the needs of vulnerable Yezidis in the region.

Looking Back

FYF’s justice project and trauma program continue to operate virtually. Our legal team has been working to identify and interview survivors of ISIS crimes. Our team conducted remote information sessions and has analyzed information on potential cases. Justice and accountability for atrocities against Yezidis, including gender-based crimes, remains an important aspect of FYF’s work. Even in times of crisis, we must not allow perpetrators to escape with impunity.

After health authorities issued a decision to prevent public gatherings, the FYF trauma team began using social media to support our beneficiaries through videos about mental health in quarantine and COVID-19 prevention. Our team conducted individual psychological assessments and therapy sessions virtually. FYF psychologists also completed remote training and support sessions for our field staff.

FYF distributing dignity kits to IDP camp residents.

Justice for genocide: Yazidis hopeful as Islamic State trial opens in Germany | Pari Ibrahim, FYF's Executive Director, was quoted in an Al-Monitor article highlighting the trial of Taha Al-J in Frankfurt, Germany. According to the indictment, the suspect purchased and enslaved a Yezidi woman and her 5-year-old daughter. The suspected ISIS militant is being accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

15-year-old Yezidi genocide survivor killed in Germany | Pari was also quoted in a Kurdistan 24 article about Arkan Hussein Kjo, a survivor of the Yezidi genocide, who was killed in Germany. “Although the specific motives behind the attack are not yet known, it is nevertheless a sad event to see a Yezidi survivor suffer. Our thoughts are with the family of the victim and we hope that justice will be served.”
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FYF Newsletter - April 2020

 

FYF staff discuss coronavirus prevention with IDP community.

Dear Friends,

The Free Yezidi Foundation (FYF) wishes you and your family safety and good health during these challenging and unsettling times. FYF would like to reassure you that, although our work has been met with unique challenges, we remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting the Yezidi community with humanitarian and human rights support. The FYF team, both on the ground and abroad, remain grateful to you for your continued support.

FYF’s Response to Covid-19

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) begins to spread throughout Iraq, we are particularly concerned with the disproportional impact it may have on the Yezidi community residing in IDP camps, especially for women and girls. The coronavirus poses the greatest threat to those with less access to resources and information, like internally displaced persons, some of the most vulnerable people in the world. That is why FYF took early action to raise awareness about the coronavirus to camp residents. Our team visited over 400 Yezidi families over a two-day period prior to the outbreak, providing information on how to prevent the spread of the virus, good personal hygiene habits, and World Health Organization recommendations. FYF has identified several critical needs in the camp, including limited access to soap and water and lack of sanitation in some areas. We will continue to work on the front lines of this crisis and monitor the situation as it unfolds.

Looking Back

Despite recent events, FYF’s work saw a number of successes in early March. FYF’s staff working on our gender-based violence (GBV) project in Shekhan conducted a series of in-depth training sessions focused on advocating for women’s rights and gender equality in the Yezidi community. Participants had an opportunity to develop GBV prevention and support strategies and will undergo further training on specialized case intervention.  

FYF held graduation ceremonies for participants at our Women’s and Children’s Centers. More than 140 women graduated from a six-month educational course, which includes English and Arabic language, computer skills, sewing, knitting, and seminars on women’s rights. In addition, 165 children graduated from a three-month educational course focused on languages, computer skills, and art. We are extremely proud of all our graduates.

FYF’s team in Khanke was honored to welcome Adama Dieng, UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, and Karim Khan, UN Special Adviser and Head of UNITAD. During their visit with FYF, the two officials met with Yezidi survivors in Khanke and FYF's humanitarian and justice team members, where they underlined the UN and UNITAD’s commitment to support efforts to hold those most responsible for ISIS crimes to account.

350 women and children registered for FYF’s Women’s and Children’s Centers. When it is again safe for programs to resume, FYF will provide them with educational courses, economic skills training, and a safe space in which they can express themselves and build meaningful social connections. At our Women’s Center, FYF staff will focus on capacity-building and skill development, empowering Yezidi women and promoting women’s agency in the community.

Ms. Hewan Omer, FYF's Country Director, discusses Yezidi needs and priorities with Mr. Dieng and Mr. Khan.

 

Gucci's Chime for Change 25 for 25 Series: Pari Ibrahim | Pari Ibrahim, FYF’s Executive Director, was featured in Gucci's Chime For Change 25 for 25 Series, an original content series that highlights activists who represent progress made on gender equality.


How Journalists and NGOs Help Track Down ISIS Criminals: Lessons from Iraqi Kurdistan | FYF was features in a Wilson Center article about NGOs and Journalists working to help locate missing Yezidis and identify ISIS perpetrators.


Woman Accused of ISIS Membership Faces Terror Charges in Germany After Journalists Expose Her | Pari Ibrahim, FYF’s Executive Director, was quoted in a Kurdistan 24 article highlighting women affiliated with Islamic State living in Europe without being held accountable for their crimes.

 

FYF envisions a world in which vulnerable Yezidi community members have the strength, support and opportunity to rebuild a better and more resilient future. Despite the challenges we are all facing, FYF continues to support and uplift vulnerable Yezidis in times of crisis. We will continue to advocate for women’s rights and empowerment in Yezidi communities, and we remain grateful for your support.


 
Sincerely,



Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation

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Country Director and UN Delegation Khanke Camp
Country Director and UN Delegation Khanke Camp

 

This program will accelerate the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of conflict-related crimes in Syria and Iraq through support to existing national and international justice and accountability mechanisms as well as the tracking of suspects and development of case files against individuals residing in friendly jurisdictions. The effort will include a focus on some of the most symbolic and sensitive offences hitherto unprosecuted, such as crimes against minorities (i.e. enslavement of Yezidi women and children by Da’esh) and sexual offences. The consortium lead is the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA), whose evidentiary holdings, investigative capacity, case files and established cooperation mechanisms with national jurisdictions are unparalleled for the conflicts addressed. Program partners will bring unique experiences to merge technology solutions with medical, forensic, minority and legal expertise. Thus, the consortium is uniquely placed to deliver three mutually-reinforcing program objectives in support of the NOFO problem statement and objectives.

FYF has expanded its efforts in seeking justice for Yezidi women and girls. As of Feburary 2020 FYF has an legal team full time in Iraq consisiting of two international lawyers, a Harvard fellow, and a local Yezidi lawyer. This all women team is supporting and expanding FYF's reach in the area support the community in their understanding of justice and stregthening systems with other international actors. 

 

On March 2, 2020 Free Yezidi Foundation center in Khanke was honored by a visit of His Excellency Adama Dieng, the United Nations Under-Secretary General and Special Advisor of the Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide and Special Advisor Mr. Karim Khan from UNITAD. During the meeting many important topics were tackled, such as general issues of the survivors, exhumation of mass graves and identifications of missing persons. We would like to thank UNITAD on their efforts and support for the Yezidi community.

UN Delegation on Justice
UN Delegation on Justice
Justice Team and UN Delegation
Justice Team and UN Delegation
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Dear friend,

 

The Free Yezidi Foundation continues to deliver humanitarian and human rights services to the Yezidi people. Over the past year, we have been able to expand the reach of our services to provide more possibilities for livelihoods, education, and specific trainings. We have also been able to empower Yezidi women to work as community liaisons, providing accurate and much-needed information about trauma and tools for recovery.

 

In 2019, some of our supporters have created a matching campaign, bringing together $55,000. Your contribution to FYF will be matched up to this amount.

 

During the last days of December, during the holiday season, we hope you will consider support to the Free Yezidi Foundation.

 

Thank you, our friends and supporters, for your solidarity.

 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Pari Ibrahim

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Organization Information

Free Yezidi Foundation

Location: Duhok, NA - Iraq
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @free_yezidi
Project Leader:
Pari Ibrahim
Duhok, NA Iraq
$32,179 raised of $100,000 goal
 
221 donations
$67,821 to go
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