Yezidi Children's Safe Space

by Free Yezidi Foundation
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Yezidi Children's Safe Space
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JANUARY 2022 NEWSLETTER

 

Dear friends,

We hope this email finds you happy and healthy after the holiday season. As 2022 gets underway, please find below our latest news from the month of January.

This month, FYF finished a structural analysis on the Hardan massacre, one of the worst atrocities committed by ISIS during the 2014 genocide. The confidential report, which is the first comprehensive investigation into the Hardan massacre, has been shared with two UN mechanisms and national prosecutors in seven different countries.  We hope that this report will aid authorities in better understanding the detailed methodology, intent, and actions of ISIS members when it overtook individual towns and villages during the Yezidi Genocide, and aid in prosecuting those responsible.

 
This report is made possible by generous support of the American people through the United States’ Department of State. The contents are the responsibility of FYF and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of State or the United States Government.

FYF participated in a panel hosted by Amnesty International following the world's first criminal prosecution, in Germany, for the Yezidi Genocide. Unfortunately, the new year has not seen an end to Turkish airstrikes in the Yezidi homeland of Sinjar. Yezidis were killed in strikes on January 21, 2022, further terrorizing the local community who are trying to rebuild their lives post-genocide. A detailed thread can be found here.

 

Our Enterprise and Training Center in Khanke is continuing to grow. We hope 2022 brings more success and opportunities for our staff to engage. We have already welcomed several visitors this year. They have been able to meet with our artisans and sample our delicious snacks at our bakery, Sugar is Sweet. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are in Duhok and would like to visit. Thank you all, as always, for your steadfast support of the Yezidi community.

Sincerely,


Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation

In the News
 
DeMorgen | Zweden En Frankrijk Gaan Samenwerken Voor Vervolging Genocide Jezidi’s | FYF is quoted in this Belgian article on the establishment of a French-Swedish team to prosecute perpetrators of the Yezidi genocide.

Kurdistan 24 | Sweden and France set up joint investigation team for crimes against Yezidis | FYF is quoted, saying: "This is a very important initiative by the EU. It is a little bit late, to be totally honest, but it is a good step."
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DECEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER

 

Dear friends,

Please find below FYF news and the latest developments in the Yezidi community for the month of December.

Lalish temple, near Sheikhan in northern Iraq.

Earlier this month, the Yezidi community celebrated Roja Ida Ezi - one of the holiest days of the year. On Friday, Yezidis celebrated with family and friends after three days of fasting, with many enjoying the festivities at Lalish, the holiest site for the community.

On December 9, the remains of 41 more Yezidis killed in Kocho were finally laid to rest in a burial ceremony in the village. This site was among the worst ISIS massacre against our people in 2014. FYF Country Director Hewan Omer travelled to Kocho with an FYF team of Harikara and a psychologist to support the community in their grief.

Sinjar was also rocked by Turkish airstrikes this month, killing several people and leading to increased fear among Yezidi returnees. On December 7, a prominent Yezidi leader died in an airstrike on the town of Khanasor, where many genocide survivors live. His two children survived the attack. Five days later, another devastating airstrike struck Khanasor, targeting a building used by a local council and often used as a wedding hall for civilians. Strong action needs to be taken to stop Turkey from terrorizing vulnerable Yezidis in their homeland.

FYF Executive Director Pari Ibrahim was hosted by the New Lines Institute in early December for a discussion on "Gendering Geopolitics" and the recent conviction of ISIS members related to the Yezidi genocide. You can watch the full discussion here.
For our friends and allies in the United Kingdom, please ask your MP to sign the motion urging the UK government to recognize ISIS atrocities against Yezidis as genocide.
As the year draws to a close, we reflect on all we have achieved with pride. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, FYF has continued to serve the most vulnerable and responded to the needs of our community. We distributed emergency aid to IDPs whose tents were lost in a fire, provided trauma treatment to the most vulnerable, compiled ISIS suspect profiles, established a Bakery Training Center, and opened the new FYF Enterprise & Training Center. We also invested in Yezidi youth through an innovative program and continued to operate a much-needed center to combat GBV. You can find more information about our activities on the newly redesigned FYF website.

This year, our programmes have reached even more people in need, but we need your help to continue this important work. For those of you who have already  made end-of-year contributions to the Free Yezidi Foundation, we appreciate your generosity immensely. If you have not, please consider making a donation.

FYF children's center beneficiary (prior to COVID-19)

Thank you all, as always, for your steadfast support of the Yezidi community, and have a wonderful holiday season.Sincerely,

Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation

In the News
Kurdistan24 | Yezidi Activists Praise German Conviction of ISIS Member For Genocide, Stressing Legal Significance | Our thoughts are included in this piece on the sentencing of Taha al-Jumailly to life in prison for his role in the Yezidi genocide.

Kurdistan24 | Alleged Turkish Strike Targets Sinjar for Second Time in a Week | FYF thoughts are included in this article on Turkish airstrikes in Sinjar. 

Suomen Kuvalehti | Isisin kalifaatti romahti, mutta jesidivahemmiston ahdinko jatkuu - valtaosa elaa yha leireilla, tuhansia kateissa | FYF was quoted in this article in Finland regarding crimes committed against the Yezidi population.

Rudaw | Suspected Turkish warplanes target Shingal twice in five days | Our perspective on Turkey's attacks on Sinjar was also covered by Rudaw.

Rudaw | HDP condemns murder of Yazidi commander in Shingal | FYF is quoted in this article on the murder of a Yezidi military commander in a Turkish airstrike.

Rudaw | Kurdish Leaders Welcome German Court's Sentencing of ISIS Member To Life Imprisonment | Our thoughts are included in this piece on al-Jumailly case.
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SUPPORT THE FREE YEZIDI FOUNDATION THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

As 2021 comes to a close, there is so much for which we are grateful! FYF has made continued progress this year: opening the new Sugar is Sweet cafe, expanding our educational training for women and girls, continuing our fight for justice, and more.

As a women-led organization, our projects in Iraq are staffed almost exclusively by Yezidi women – women like Shaima from Khanasor. Shaima signed up for FYF’s bakery training program after taking classes at our Women’s Center. She excelled in her bakery and finance courses and was selected to join our Sugar is Sweet team. Our programs are not only helping Shaima; they continue to inspire and empower other women to learn new skills and earn their own income.

“I see that I’m encouraging other girls to go to classes and training,” says Shaima. “My friend never used to go out and now she is asking me about sewing classes. I’m the eldest in my family and have encouraged my sister to go to classes after school so she can find work, too.”Support us as we support the Yezidis

We can’t do our work without your essential support. In this season of giving, please consider a donation to FYF. Consider becoming a monthly sustaining donor or making a year-end financial gift. Every dollar counts! 

Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation

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NOVEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER

 

Dear friends,

Please find below FYF news and the latest developments in the Yezidi community for the month of November.
 

FYF presentation alongside UNITAD, ICC, and Iraqi officials at Iraq's Embassy in Netherlands

 

FYF conducted a series of high-level meetings in the USA and the Netherlands this month. 

In early November, we met with the US State Department's Senior Official for Global Women's Issues, highlighting efforts to rescue missing Yezidi women and children, and the dangers posed to Yezidis by ongoing Turkish airstrikes on Sinjar and the threat of another Turkish incursion into northern Syria. 

This was followed by a successful trip to the Netherlands, where FYF participated in a special event titled "Collective Action Towards Accountability for ISIL Crimes" co-hosted by UNITAD, the ICC, and the Iraqi Embassy in The Hague. FYF also met with a number of Dutch politicians and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss support for Yezidi civil society, women's rights, missing Yezidis, and the ongoing crisis on the Belarus-Poland border, where many Yezidis have been stuck while migrating to Europe.

It was important to reconnect with supporters of the Yezidi cause in the Netherlands, and we hope we will continue to work closely together to advance Yezidi rights. 

FYF held a series of meetings with Netherlands Members of Parliament and government officials

On 30 November, ISIS member Taha A.J. was convicted of genocide and other charges for his role in the Yezidi Genocide. FYF issued a statement marking the conviction.

"How many ISIS members guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity, slavery, rape, and murder are yet to be prosecuted? We call upon law enforcement authorities, particularly in Europe, to accelerate investigation and indictment of their citizens who participated in these crimes. We also call upon Iraqi authorities to immediately pass legislation criminalizing international atrocities such as genocide and crimes against humanity, so that a specialized court or hybrid tribunal can be established to try the many thousands of ISIS members in Iraqi custody for their crimes against Yezidis. FYF is grateful to Germany for its efforts in prosecuting this case. We hope this will lead to further efforts, in Germany and elsewhere, toward justice and accountability in the aftermath of the Yezidi Genocide."

FYF statement and Taha A.J. in court (photos AFP)

 

Yezidis are among the many migrants stuck on the borders between Belarus, Poland, and Lithuania, where they have suffered the most horrific conditions and are stranded without shelter, food, or water. FYF has raised this issue with several senior officials and media outlets in recent weeks. With most Yezidis living in IDP camps, our community is particularly vulnerable. FYF calls on the relevant authorities to provide shelter and protection for migrants in Belarus or a safe, dignified, voluntary return for migrants repatriated to Iraq. 

FYF staff members also participated in a training event on raising awareness of the Yezidi Survivors' Law, passed by the Iraqi government earlier this year. FYF will continue to work with survivors to ensure they are informed of their rights and can advocate for their needs. 

FYF is delighted to see our cafe, Sugar is Sweet, is being used as a venue for celebrations in Khanke. A special congratulations to staff member Gulistan, who celebrated her wedding anniversary at Sugar is Sweet last week. 

Our cafe is now operating four days a week, with opening hours modified in line with the community's wishes. If you are in the area and wish to visit Sugar is Sweet and the enterprise center, do not hesitate to contact us. More information about the bakery is available on Instagram here.

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

Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi FoundationCONTRIBUTE

In the News

Middle East Eye | Distraught Yazidi Survivors Return From Belarus to Kurdistan | FYF is quoted in this article on Yezidis returning to Iraq from Belarus after a harrowing experience stuck on the border with Poland. 

Amnesty International - Germany | Weltweit Erstes Urteil Wegen Volkermordes an Jesid_Innen | FYF is quoted in this piece by Amnesty International - Germany regarding the genocide conviction of Taha A.J. 

LSE | Increasing Calls To Find Missing Yazidis | Knox Thames, former State Department advisor for religious minorities in the Near East and South and Central Asia, highlights ongoing efforts to find missing Yezidis, including the work of FYF.

Inkstick | Finding Missing Yezidis | In this op-ed, FYF discusses the challenges behind finding missing Yezidis, and the need for international support. 
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SEPTEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER

 

Dear friends,

Please find below FYF news and the latest developments in the Yezidi community for the month of October.

On 25 October, Jennifer Wenisch was convicted in Germany for her role in the death of a five-year-old Yezidi girl. FYF applauded the German court for this judgment while underscoring the horrific nature of crimes committed against the Yezidi people by ISIS members such as Jennifer Wenisch.

"Like many other women who joined ISIS, Wenisch, who travelled to Iraq in 2014, was not merely an 'ISIS bride,' but played an active role in the enslavement and genocide of the Yezidi people. Along with her husband, Wenisch took a Yezidi woman and her daughter as slaves in Mosul. They later chained the five-year-old child outside, where she died of thirst in the summer heat. It should be noted that the crimes committed by Wenisch and her husband were revealed in Europe when she explained to an FBI informant, who was posing as an ISIS supporter, what she had done. Yezidi women have often said that female ISIS members were among the most brutal."

FYF's full statement can be found here.

Jennifer W in court on 25 October 2021 (photo: Getty Images)

FYF has been operating the Bakery Training Center since the early part of this year. Every few months, Yezidi women graduate with new skills - not only in baking but also basic mathematics and business training. The bakery is now functioning, and the women have worked hard to establish a spectacular cafe for the host and IDP community to enjoy. Congratulations to our October graduates!

We look forward to expanding bakery and cafe operations in the coming months, and we are thankful to Hungary Helps and Hungarian Interchurch Aid for supporting this innovative project.

This month, 62 young people in Khanke graduated from FYF's program, supported by Grand Challenges Canada, designed to provide them with a range of important life skills. Participants benefitted from English language classes, IT, human rights classes and support with writing resumes. Yezidi women also led sessions for the group on social and mental health issues, an important area of concern this year. Congratulations to our graduates, and thank you to the Government of Canada for supporting this important project. 

FYF is scaling up pressure on the international community to mount a serious campaign to identify and rescue the nearly three thousand Yezidi women and children were are still missing. Partly as a result of our efforts, the United States Department of State spearheaded a statement signed by 17 other countries underscoring the necessity to identify the missing. The statement can be found here. One ally in our effort, Fiona Bruce, Member of the UK Parliament, posed a public question to the UK Foreign Secretary, which can be found here.

This month FYF-USA board member Alex Lourie visited the Enterprise & Training Center in Khanke to meet with beneficiaries and staff, purchase some craft items, and support the team. He was also present in Baghdad, on behalf of FYF, to accept a donation from the European Union Assistance Mission to Iraq to the FYF Enterprise & Training Center (pictured below).

Separately, FYF-USA board member Nibras Basitkey appeared on the Today Show, a prominent television show in the United States. Nibras spoke about women's rights and women's education (pictured below). Great job board members!

EUAM-Iraq presents check to FYF (photo: EUAM-Iraq); Nibras on the Today Show (photo: Today Show)

 

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

Sincerely,


Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation

 

 

In the News

Forbes | The Missing Yazidi Women and Children Must Be Located and Rescued | This article discusses the effort, co-led by FYF, to mount a serious campaign to rescue missing Yezidis.

Forbes | How Activists, Including Nobel Winner Nadia Murad, Are Advocating For Missing Women And Children | FYF's advocacy for missing women and children is mentioned in this article.

The New Statesman | Massacred by Islamic State, Yazidis Now Face Turkish Airstrikes | Turkey has repeatedly bombed Sinjar in the past year. FYF is quoted expressing the impact this has on the Yezidi community.

US Institute of Peace | Why Is There No Global Effort To Find The Missing Yezidis? | |n this article, Knox Thames, former State Department advisor for religious minorities in the Near East and South and Central Asia, argues the international community needs to do more to find missing Yezidis. 

Kurdistan24 | Yezidis Welcome Statement Of 'Great Concern' By 18 Nations On Missing Captives | FYF is quoted in this article, published following a joint statement from 18 countries on missing Yezidi women and children.

Kurdistan24 German ISIS Wife Sentenced to 10 Years in Jail | FYF is quoted in this Kurdistan24 piece on the Jennifer Wenisch case in Munich. 

Rudaw | Yazidi Organisations Welcome German Court Sentence of ISIS Woman to 10 Years | FYF was also featured in Rudaw's article on the Wenisch case. 
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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, Kurdistan Region Iraq
$40,011 raised of $103,800 goal
 
409 donations
$63,789 to go
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