AUGUST 2022 - NEWS AND UPDATES
The Yezidi community gathers every year in August to commemorate the 2014 Yezidi Genocide, assess challenges, and call for support to and solidarity with our people. Please read on for August monthly news and updates.
YEZIDI GENOCIDE COMMEMORATION
The Free Yezidi Foundation, Sinjar Academy, and Youth Bridge Development Organization held an in-person commemoration event at FYF's Enterprise & Training Center in Khanke. The event included displays by Yezidi artists and statements by Yezidi civilians and UN and diplomatic spokespeople. Mahdi Murad opened the ceremony with his poem: "We have lived eight years as if they were one day. We all became orphans after August 3rd. We don't want to live a jungle life where the strong eat the weak... the young have lost years of their lives."A two-minute video from a journalist who covered the commemoration event can be found by clicking here.
FYF, SA, YB staff members united on 3 August; Abo Majed holds photos of missing family members; paintings by Yezidi artists on display; UNITAD and Netherlands representatives address Yezidi community
FYF also hosted four virtual panels to commemorate the Yezidi Genocide. These panels included Yezidi and international experts as well as representatives from governments, United Nations, and non-governmental organizations.
- "In most genocides, there is some story of 'we did not know it was happening.' But with ISIS, it was happening in plain sight. When [European ISIS members] do return, we should not prosecute them for smaller crimes, but we should prosecute them for complicity in genocide." - Netherlands Member of Parliament Pieter Omtzigt
- "When I speak as a prosecutor about holding ISIS perpetrators accountable for atrocious crimes against Yezidis, I have to say that there is still a lot to be done, and that the process of bringing ISIS to justice has just started." - German federal prosecutor Anna Zabeck
- "I call upon the Government of Iraq to use a whole-of-government approach to support the Directorate for Survivors' Affairs created by the Yezidi Survivors' Law to deliver on each of the benefits promised by the law." United Nations SRSG Pramila Patten
- "The Sinjar Agreement lacked extensive consultation with the local population...it cannot be implemented effectively nor improve the lives of Sinjar's residents if it does not receive buy-in from the local community...the US Government has heard this loud and clear from the Yezidi community." - US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Jen Gavito
The full recorded discussion can be viewed on FYF's social media platforms. Click here to watch.
FYF released a 3 August 2022 statement
calling on international stakeholders and policymakers to contribute to the well-being, empowerment, and rehabilitation of the Yezidi community. The statement calls for the following:
- No-fly zone over Sinjar
- Education and empowerment of Yezidi IDPs
- A functional plan to rescue missing Yezidis and support survivor recovery
- Ensuring ISIS perpetrators held in Syria face justice
- Allocation of resources for Yezidi civil society
FYF Executive Director Pari Ibrahim also co-authored three opinion pieces to mark the Yezidi Genocide:Yezidi Post-Genocide Plight - Severe Challenges Eight Years on
Remembering the Yezidi Genocide Eight Years Ago (Jerusalem Post)Eight Years after Genocide, the World Owes the Yezidis a Debt
Finally, the US Department of State released a video about FYF's work to commemorate the Yezidi Genocide. Click here to watch.
BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS FOR DISPLACED YEZIDI CHILDREN
This month FYF announced an initiative to throw birthday parties for displaced Yezidi children. Many young Yezidis in Iraq have lived in IDP or refugee camps for most or all of their lives, and many have never celebrated a birthday. You can now sponsor a birthday party for a Yezidi child and ten of his or her friends at FYF's Sugar is Sweet bakery and café.
The child will receive a hand-crafted stuffed animal, made by our Yezidi crafts artisans, and a birthday party with cakes, drinks, and sweets at our cafe, staffed 100% by displaced Yezidi women. This initiative helps to support the crafts and bakery enterprises while providing displaced Yezidi children with a day of hope, happiness, and pleasant memories. You can participate in this initiative today by clicking here.
FYF REMEMBERS THE KOCHO MASSACRE
The Yezidi community remembers the Kocho massacre, which occurred on 15 August 2014, each year. FYF has worked with many survivors from Kocho who continue their struggle to overcome the loss and grief in the aftermath of the Yezidi Genocide.
COMMEMORATING VICTIMS OF RELIGIOUS-BASED VIOLENCE
FYF joined lawyers and activists on a panel to mark the International Day Commemorating Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief this month. FYF highlighted the centuries-long marginalization and oppression of the Yezidi community that continues to threaten Yezidis living in Iraq and Syria.
DID YOU KNOW?
Of the Yezidis who once lived in Afrin, Syria, 90% have been forced to flee. Turkish-backed militias terrorize those who remain, include ISIS and Al-Qaeda members, and have been engaged in facilitating the trafficking of Yezidi and other women. Afrin is now a hotbed of extremism.
Thank you all, as always, for keeping up with our news and work, and for your steadfast support of FYF and the Yezidi community.
Free Yezidi Foundation
IN THE NEWSNewsweek | Yazidi Post-Genocide Plight - Severe Challenges Eight Years on – Opinion | Pari Ibrahim and Murad Ismael discuss the extensive challenges which continue to plague Yezidis
The Jerusalem Post | Remembering the Yezidi Genocide eight years ago
- By Pari Ibrahim and Susan Heller Pinto | The Yezidi experience has ongoing significance for the Middle East and the region’s other religious minoritiesThe National Interest
| Eight Years After Genocide, the World Owes the Yezidis a Debt
- by Megan Bodette and Pari Ibrahim | The international community must commit to empowering Yezidis to build a safe, sustainable post-ISIS future with the same vigor deployed in defeating ISISU.N. Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence and Conflict
| SRSG Patten’s Video Remarks for the Free Yezidi Foundation’s Eight-Year Commemoration of the Yezidi Genocide, 3 August 2022
| "... we have a special thought for those from your community that remain missing ... I and the entire United Nations system stand with you."United States Institute of Peace
| Five Ways to Make the U.S. Atrocity Prevention Strategy Work
| While real challenges remain, the strategy represents important progress. FYF was thanked for our essential work along with our partners in this work.The Mirror
| Inside horror camp women and children are still stuck in 8 years after ISIS massacre
| Pari Ibrahim cites the trauma, desperation and seeing no hope for the future as one of the reasons suicide rates are alarmingly high
Middle East Eye | Iraq: Dutch police seek information on perpetrators of Islamic State crimes against Yazidis
| At a panel sponsored by FYF, the discussion focused on the hunt for Dutch nationals or those residing in The Netherlands involved in genocide comes as Yazidis commemorate eighth anniversary of mass killings in IraqMedya News
| Eight Year Commemoration of the Yezidi Genocide online event
| FYF’s series of four online panels addressed ongoing work to achieve justice for the victims of the Yezidi genocide, rights for the genocide survivors, Yezidi’s current situation in Sinjar, and the geo-political situation that exists in the Sinjar region, including the issues in relation to the Sinjar Agreement and the ongoing Turkish drone attacks on Yazidi survivors
K24 | US Deputy Assistant Secretary underlines need to implement Sinjar agreement
| Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran, Jennifer Gavito, stresses the need for the implementation of the Sinjar agreement and armed groups to be removed from Sinjar
K24 | Turkish drone attack kills SDF member in Assyrian village
| “The United States is not supportive of Turkish actions in northern Iraq or northern Syria," said Douglas Hoyt, the Acting Deputy Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, at an event hosted by FYF