Yezidi Children's Safe Space

by Free Yezidi Foundation
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Yezidi Children's Safe Space
Yezidi Children's Safe Space
Yezidi Children's Safe Space
Yezidi Children's Safe Space
Yezidi Children's Safe Space
Yezidi Children's Safe Space
Yezidi Children's Safe Space
Yezidi Children's Safe Space
Yezidi Children's Safe Space
Yezidi Children's Safe Space
Yezidi Children's Safe Space
Yezidi Children's Safe Space
Yezidi Children's Safe Space

 

SEPTEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER

 

Dear friends,

The Free Yezidi Foundation continues its focus on providing sustainable solutions, training, and development to the Yezidi community. At the same time, we are focusing on the priorities of the community in the aftermath of the Yezidi Genocide, including efforts to identify and bring back Yezidi women and children. 

This month, FYF has helped lead an international campaign to prompt a serious search and rescue effort for those Yezidis still missing and unaccounted for seven years later. A joint letter, co-written by the Free Yezidi Foundation, was signed by more than 80 organizations and individuals in this regard.

"Seven years after the genocide, it is a travesty that the Yazidi women and children remain missing and their fate unknown. If they are alive, they continue to be enslaved and subjected to daily abuse. Despite findings of genocide and repeated pronouncements expressing concern for Yazidis, the international community has failed to organise any effort to locate these kidnapped individuals."

The letter was delivered in person to 10 Downing Street in the United Kingdom, and FYF participated in several meetings to highlight this issue in September. A press releaserelated to this letter was issued as well.

The FYF team was very pleased to congratulate Mr. Christian Ritscher as the new head of UNITAD, the UN body responsible for investigating ISIS crimes. FYF has worked closely with Mr. Ritscher over the last years, including meetings in Germany and regular communication. Furthermore, Mr. Ritscher has graciously appeared in both of FYF's virtual commemoration events in the last two years. FYF is grateful for his steadfast work pursuing justice and accountability in Germany, focusing on winning cases rather than media attention or self-promotion. Our team personally and publicly congratulated Mr. Ritscher, and we look forward to working with him closely.

The FYF 2020 annual report is now published on the FYF website in English and in Dutch. Please feel free to review this report for facts, figures, and anecdotes about the organization's activities and successes.
 

"Despite challenges, FYF continued efforts in the field to promote education, livelihoods tools, employment, justice, and women’s rights."

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

Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation

In the News

Coalition for Genocide Response | Join the Initiative to #BringBackYazidis | The letter to world leaders, co-authored by FYF, is featured here.

UN Women | Learning from Practice Brief Series: Issue No. 4 | This is a policy brief from UN Women that includes the experiences and lessons learned from a number of UN grantees, including FYF.

De Morgen | Hoe de IS-genocide op jezidi's positie van de vrouw heft veranderd. 'Nu ben ik de kostwinner'. | This is an article in a Belgian newspaper (in the Flemish language) featuring the FYF Enterprise & Training Center and the challenges facing Yezidi women.

Kurdistan24 | UN Appoints New Head of Investigative Body for ISIS war crimes | FYF is quoted in this article regarding the new Head of UNITAD.

Kurdistan24 | 80 Organizations, Experts Urge Rescue of Yezidis Still Missing after Being Kidnapped by ISIS | FYF is featured in this article regarding the effort to prompt rescue for missing Yezidis.

Kurdistan24 | Petition Calls on Germany to Formally Recognize Yezidi Genocide | This article quotes FYF in highlighting the importance of genocide recognition as a necessary first step toward recovery and justice.
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AUGUST 2021 NEWSLETTER

Dear friends,

August is an important month for Yezidis, as the entire community marks the Yezidi Genocide commemoration on 2-3 August. We are grateful to our friends and allies for standing with us as we remembered those we lost and supported survivors and families striving to rebuild.

The full videos of the panel discussions are archived on the Free Yezidi Foundation's YouTube channel (Day One & Day Two) and can also be viewed in Arabic on FYF's Facebook page. We were very grateful for the participation and the strong words of sympathy, solidarity, and substantive ideas for action and progress shared by our friends and allies, and for the strength and resilience of the many Yezidi speakers who shared their thoughts, concerns, and hopes on the commemoration day.

The Free Yezidi Foundation issued a statement on 3 August calling attention to six themes:

- Bring back Our Women and Girls!
- Just Implementation of the Sinjar Agreement
- Equal Opportunity for Yezidis
- The Yezidi Survivors' Law
- Better Conditions for IDPs
- Justice & Accountability

In addition, FYF contributed to several articles around the world to bring attention to the specific challenges facing recovery and reconstruction for the Yezidi community after seven years, as well as areas of opportunity and progress.  Outlets include the Washington Post, Guardian, Telegraaf, Independiente, Newsweek, and others. The articles and corresponding links are listed below.
AFGHANISTAN

The Free Yezidi Foundation has observed the developments in Afghanistan with great sorrow. The military takeover of cities and villages by an Islamic fundamentalist militia poses enormous risks to religious minorities and to women and girls. The Yezidi population has direct experience with this. While FYF cannot deviate from its mission to protect the Yezidi population and advance community recovery, all individuals and organizations have a moral obligation to affirm solidarity with those who face or may face grave danger in Afghanistan, just as we appreciated global support to our community during the course of the Yezidi Genocide.
15 August - Kocho Massacre Commemoration

On 15 August the Yezidi community remembers the massacre and enslavement at Kocho, one of the worst crime scenes of the Yezidi Genocide. FYF has worked closely with many survivors from Kocho, and one survivor who has resettled in Germany (appearing in the photo below) asked us to share her quote: "Every day is difficult for us, but the commemoration reminds us of the day, hours, and the exact minutes when we were separated from our fathers and mothers."

To mark seven years since the Kocho massacre, FYF participated in a virtual event hosted by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. The event has been recorded and will be available online in due course.

Survivors and Yezidi community remember the Kocho massacre in ceremony in Stuttgart, Germany, 15 August 2021

This month, only days after the Yezidi Genocide commemoration event, the Turkish military conducted airstrikes on 16 and 17 August in Sinjar city, including the destruction of a hospital. The airstrikes are highly destabilizing, both threatening Yezidi civilians in Sinjar and frightening Yezidi families in IDP camps considering a return. FYF has been outspoken on the humanitarian danger posed by these airstrikes. The attacks killed ten people including seven Yezidis, all of whom had survived the Yezidi Genocide, only to have been killed in Sinjar in August 2021.

In more optimistic news, FYF has begun implementation of a new project designed to bolster resilience, tools, and hope for Yezidi youth living in IDP camps. This program, funded by Grand Challenges Canada, includes extensive training and mentorship for young Yezidi men and women. The first 58 beneficiaries graduated from the course in August 2021, some of whom are pictured below. Congratulations and best of luck to our young graduates!

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation invited the Free Yezidi Foundation to participate in the Dare to Overcome conference. FYF was invited to participate in the sessions, the RFBF and generous donors organized a virtual auction, with 100% of the proceeds going to FYF's Enterprise & Training Center. We are very grateful for the support, as the auction raised more than $20,000! Thank you to those who donated items for the auction and to all of you who bid!

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


Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi FoundationCONTRI

BUTE

In the News

Washington Post | Seven Years After the Genocide, Yezidis Are Still Waiting for Justice | This is an op-ed by FYF's Pari Ibrahim and Sinjar Academy's Murad Ismael to mark seven years since the Yezidi Genocide.

NRC Handelsblad | Geef Yezidi Slachtoffers van IS-terreur Gerechtigheid | This is an op-ed in the Dutch newspaper NRC by FYF's Pari Ibrahim and FYF advisor Simon Minks on justice and the importance of prosecutions in the aftermath of genocide and mass atrocity crimes.

The Guardian | 'Still Going Through Hell': the Search for Yazidi Women Seven Years On | This article quotes FYF on the efforts to identify and rescue the missing Yezidi women and girls and the psychological impact on families with missing members.

Newsweek | Yazidi Genocide Survivors Still Suffering 7 Years Later | This opinion piece cites FYF's 3 August 2021 recommendations and the need to identify and rescue missing Yezidis seven years later.

El Independiente | El Incómodo Silencio de España en el Genocidio Yazidí a Manos del Estado Islámico | This article in Spain's El Independiente addresses the importance of genocide recognition by national parliaments, such as Spain, and quotes FYF.

Telegraaf | Nederlandse Jezidi's Jagen op IS-vrouwen: 'Ze Maakten Slavinnen Klaar Voor Verkrachting' | This article in the Dutch newspaper is an exclusive interview with FYF's Executive Director to mark the seven-year commemoration of the Yezidi Genocide.

Religious Freedom & Business Foundation | Auction Supporting the Free Yezidi Foundation's Enterprise & Training Center | The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation created this auction to benefit FYF in August to remember the Yezidi Genocide seven years ago.

Grand Challenges Canada | UK and Canada Team Up to Support Youth Mental Health Projects Worldwide | FYF has received a grant from Grand Challenges Canada to help provide mental health support and skills training to Yezidi youth in IDP camps, as highlighted in this announcement.

Algemeen Dagblad | Zeven Jaar na Genocide op Jezidi's: 'Breng Nederlandse Daders voor de Rechter' | This article in the Dutch newspaper overviews the crimes committed against Yezidis and the need for justice, with quotes from FYF.

Office of the SRSG - Sexual Violence in Conflict | Belgian parliament committee recognizes Yezidi genocide | This is the statement of UN SRSG Pramila Patten that was presented at the FYF seven-year commemoration on 3 August 2021.

Telegraaf | Aandacht voor Krokodillentranen van IS-vrouwen Gaat Maar Door | This article in a Dutch newspaper focuses on female European ISIS members, and their 'crocodile tears', with reference to FYF's research into female ISIS members.

URI Europe | Webinar "After Genocide - the Yezidis Recovery from Religious Persecution" | FYF Country Director Hewan Omer participated in a virtual discussion about the situation facing Yezidis and next steps toward recovery.

Ms. Magazine | Ms. Global | This global recap highlights the FYF effort to draw attention to the missing Yezidi women and girls on the commemoration of the Yezidi Genocide.

International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism | Five Years of Airstrikes: Turkish Aggression and International Silence in Sinjar, 2017-2021 | This article focuses on Turkish airstrikes in Sinjar and its destabilizing impact on the Yezidi population.

Zoryan Institute | Seven Years On: Commemorating the Yazidi Genocide | This article is a series of three interviews about the Yezidi Genocide, its aftermath, and what needs to be done for the Yezidi people.

Stand League | When a Fashion Leader Reaches Out to Stop Religious Genocide | This article features the efforts of Kathy Ireland to promote religious tolerance, including reference to FYF's 2-3 August event.

SBS Australia | Seven Years since ISIS' Attack on Yezidis, over Two Thousand Women, Girls Still Missing | This audio interview with FYF reviews challenges, progress, and next step for Yezidi recovery, as well as the importance of commemoration and solidarity on 3 August.

Rudaw | Yazidis Criticize Government Inaction on Eve of Genocide Anniversary | This article reviews the issues raised by Yezidi organizations, highlighting the lack of progress for Yezidi recovery since the genocide.

Kurdistan24 | Yezidis Call for Mission to Find Missing Women on 7th Anniversary of Genocide | Yezidi organizations, including FYF, call for international mission to help rescue missing Yezidi women.

Kurdistan24 | Few Yezidis have returned to Sinjar since 2014 ISIS takeover, 2,736 remain kidnapped: KRG  | This article highlights the missing Yezidis and the need to conduct a rescue mission.

Kurdistan24 | Dutch Looking to Improve Agriculture in Sinjar: Ambassador | The Netherlands articulated its interest to help support agriculture in and around Sinjar, as mentioned by the Dutch Consul at FYF's panel event.
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JULY 2021 NEWSLETTER

 

Dear friends,

The activities of the Free Yezidi Foundation over the last month can be found below.

In addition, we encourage you to join us on 2-3 August for a series of virtual panels to commemorate the Yezidi Genocide. The panels will review justice and accountability, youth, genocide recognition, gender and women's rights, security challenges, and a number of other pressing matters for our community as we mark this solemn day. Click for the full panel descriptions and list of speakers.

Thank you for standing with us.

The Free Yezidi Foundation and other Yezidi organizations and activists worked together to help provide relief to families in the Sharya IDP camp who lost their tents and belongings in a devastating fire. The Free Yezidi Foundation alone was able to distribute a total of $18,416 to the 133 families, as seen in the images above. A warm thank you to all those who made this possible. The support was much needed and very warmly appreciated.

After the fire, our mobile trauma team, which consists of one psychotherapist and ten Harikara (MHPSS field workers), increased their efforts to respond to this new crisis. Our psychotherapist had been engaged in therapy with some of the fire survivors already and she is continuing one to one sessions. Moreover, in order to extend services to more beneficiaries, she has started offering group sessions to women to increase their resilience and well-being. Our Harikara are doing field visits and helping the camp residents improve their mental health. The fire had a very demoralising effect on the mental health of the camp residents so we are having a enormous increase on the referrals to our psychotherapist from the field, from other humanitarian organisations and from our beneficiaries, for psychotherapy.  
On July 6th, the Parliament of the Netherlands recognized the Yezidi Genocide. On July 15th, the Belgian Parliament passed its recognition resolution. The Free Yezidi Foundation began in the Netherlands, and FYF has consistently advocated for genocide recognition by the governments and parliaments of the Benelux countries. These resolutions represented important steps forward for Yezidis. Pictured below: the unanimous 139-0 voting result in Belgium, the Parliament floors of Belgium and the Netherlands, and an FYF-led demonstration in front of the Netherlands Parliament in August 2014, when the Yezidi Genocide first began.

Unfortunately, thousands of Yezidi women and girls remain unaccounted for, even after seven years. This month a Yezidi girl was rescued from Deir ez-Zor, Syria. She had been missing since August 3rd, 2014. The Yezidi community continues the search for the missing and urges military and intelligence authorities to prioritize the rescue of abducted Yezidis.

REGISTER
 
In case you missed it, FYF's seven-year Yezidi Genocide commemoration statement can be found by clicking here. The statement focuses on the following six themes:

- Bring Back Our Women and Girls!
- Just Implementation of the Sinjar Agreement
- Equal Opportunity for Yezidis
- The Yezidi Survivors' Law
- Better Conditions for IDPs
- Justice & AccountabilityThank you, as always, for your steadfast support of the Yezidi community.CONTRIBUTE

Sincerely,

Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation

In the News

Kurdistan 24 | Dutch parliament formally recognizes Yezidi genocide | FYF is quoted in this article expressing appreciation for the genocide recognition resolution passed by the Netherlands Parliament.

Rudaw | Netherlands, Belgium officially recognize Yazidi genocide | This article quotes FYF on the efforts to support genocide recognition resolutions in Belgian and Netherlands Parliaments.

Religious Freedom Institute | Strategies to Build Peace from the Ground Up: Protecting Religious Diversity, Coexistence, and Cultural Heritage in Iraq | The Religious Freedom Institute held a virtual conversation, including an FYF speaker, to discuss Iraqi diversity and promote religious coexistence (video recording available at the link).

PUK Media | Belgian parliament recognizes ISIS crimes against Yezidi as genocide | The article addresses the vote of the Belgian Parliament to formally recognize the Yezidi Genocide.

Kurdistan 24 | Belgian parliament votes to recognize ISIS crimes against Yezidis as genocide | This article reviews the Belgian Parliament vote to recognize the Yezidi Genocide.

Kurdistan 24 | Belgian parliament committee recognizes Yezidi genocide | This article focuses on the Belgian Parliament's Committee on Foreign Relations decision to recognize the Yezidi Genocide.
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Dear friends,

We hope this email finds you well. This past month was full of both highs and lows, from inspiring graduations to devastating losses in Sharya IDP camp. Despite the challenges this month brought, we were nonetheless proud to see our community step up to support the Yezidi people in a meaningful way.

Early this month, a horrific fire ripped through Sharya IDP camp in northern Iraq, destroying hundreds of tents and the belongings of more than 1000 individuals. FYF raised over $18,000 to provide cash-based relief to affected families, helping them to rebuild. Tragedies such as this one underscore the ongoing issue of sub-par camp housing and the lack of reliable emergency services like fire and rescue. 

This month saw the graduation of our first cohort of bakery trainees from FYF's newest enterprise, the Sugar is Sweet Bakery in Khanke! This groundbreaking livelihoods project will train more than 100 Yezidi women each year in basic baking techniques, business skills, and business mathematics. We are so proud of our first group of graduates, a number of whom will be selected for upcoming employment opportunities in the bakery. We invite you to visit the bakery and training center, taste our sweet treats, and follow along on Instagram @sugarissweetbakery.

 

June was also a busy month for other engagements. On the 15th, FYF provided testimony and submitted evidence to the Belgian Parliament during their Yezidi genocide deliberations. In addition to providing a strong voice for humanitarian assistance and genocide recognition, Pari also highlighted the need to prosecute ISIS members for specific genocide-related crimes:


"If prosecutors only legally demonstrate Da'esh members as participating in terror, then I fear we have missed the fundamental purpose of justice for mass atrocity crimes. I therefore call upon all those with prosecuting authority, beginning in Belgium, to carefully examine the evidence and the crimes of Da'esh members."

FYF's Pari Ibrahim testifies virtually at the Belgium Parliament, June 2021

 

In the field, FYF hosted a week of consultations for Yezidi survivors to meet UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) officials for discussions around concerns and ideas about the recently passed Yezidi Survivors' Law. FYF's Waheeda Omer, pictured, led the effort from the FYF side. 


FYF clinical psychologist Yesim Arikut-Treece also led a discussion on her application of Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in the field for female genocide survivors at the EMDR Virtual2021 conference. From international advocacy and knowledge sharing to local engagement in civic processes, it was a challenging and rewarding month for FYF.Thank you, as always, for your steadfast support of the Yezidi community.CONTRIBUTE

 

Sincerely,


Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation

In the News

Washington Post | Fire burns through Yazidi displacement camp seven years after ISIS genocide | This article discusses the tragic Sharya fire, quoting FYF psychologist Mayan Hussein about the psychological implications of such tragedies.

Al Jazeera | Iraq's reparations law for Yezidi survivors is a positive step  | This article reviews the Yezidi Survivors' Law and Iraqi civil society organizations' (including FYF) recommendations for efficient and survivor-centered implementation.

K24 | New upgraded shelters in camp for displaced Yezidis after fire | This article discusses the response to the Sharya fire, quoting FYF Executive Director Pari Ibrahim regarding common sense steps UN agencies can take to provide safer housing.
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MAY 2021 NEWSLETTER

 

Dear friends,

 

We hope this email finds you happy, healthy, and safe as we transition from spring into summer. This past month was full of important events that we are eager to share with you. UNITAD made an official determination of what we already know: that the extensively documented ISIS crimes committed against the Yezidi people constituted genocide. This represents a step forward in international recognition of the Yezidi Genocide and prospects for justice. FYF celebrates this step, while cautioning that such determinations must be met with concrete action in the pursuit of justice for ISIS crimes.

 

In the beginning of May, Free Yezidi Crafts & Enterprise, the artisan branch of the recently opened FYF Enterprise and Training Center, participated in a U.S. Consulate bazaar in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. Our intricate handwoven carpets, rugs, and crocheted pieces were an instant hit - selling more than 27 items in the span of a few hours! The event generated a buzz about our quality Yezidi-made handicrafts, which you can peruse here. Orders can be placed via email to info@freeyezidi.org or through direct message on our Instagram page linked above.On May 12th, the Free Yezidi Foundation provided testimony to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom hearing about genocide determination. In the statement, FYF's Pari Ibrahim emphasized the Yezidi community's solidarity with the Rohingya and Uyghur people and the importance of timely genocide recognition for survivor communities. Further, she cautioned that the Yezidi community's 74th genocide should be viewed as ongoing - highlighting the fact that nearly 3,000 abducted Yezidis remain unaccounted for and the effects of the genocide still impact daily life.The following week, FYF co-hosted an event with the Wilson Center's Middle East Program to discuss geopolitical challenges faced by Yezidis in both Iraq and Syria. The panel discussion addressed ongoing needs in the Yezidi community - from mental health and psychosocial support to security and infrastructure - but also highlighted the threats faced by Yezidis and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and northern Syria. Scholars, including Amy Austin Holmes of the Wilson Center and Nadine Maenza of USCIRF in particular, emphasized the destabilizing role that Turkish airstrikes and Turkish-backed militias have played across the region in recent years. A video recording of the stimulating conversation can be found here.We hope you will find these events, conversations, and incredible handicrafts worthwhile and of interest. Thank you, as always, for your steadfast support of the Yezidi community.CONTRIBUTE

 

Sincerely,


Pari Ibrahim
Founder and Executive Director

In the News

North Press Agency | Ethnic cleansing of Yezidis continues in Turkish-occupied Syria, say activists and experts | This article reviews the May 19th Wilson Center event, where panelists discussed the fate of religious and ethnic minorities in northern Syria.

Rudaw | Yezidis call for action to bring home loved ones kidnapped by ISIS | This article quotes FYF about the renewed international campaign to account for the almost 3,000 Yezidis who remain missing after being abducted by ISIS in 2014.
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Free Yezidi Foundation

Location: Duhok, NA - Iraq
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @free_yezidi
Project Leader:
Pari Ibrahim
Duhok, Kurdistan Region Iraq
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