JUNE 2022 - NEWS AND UPDATES
Photo credit: Jean-Nicolas Beuze (UNHCR)
Dear Friends of FYF,
Turkey continues to bomb Sinjar, making it difficult for Yezidis to remain in the city or to return home after years of displacement. At the same time, conflict among various militias in the area have complicated the situation for Yezidi civilians. While we ceaselessly fight for peace and justice, we continue our training and educational programs, building places where Yezidis continue to thrive - especially Yezidi women. Read on for our June news.
YEZIDI CHILD AMONG VICTIMS OF TURKISH AIR STRIKE IN SINJAR
The Free Yezidi Foundation has called upon NATO to condemn and halt the ongoing strikes conducted by the Turkish Air Force in Sinjar, targeting Yezidi Genocide survivors. These attacks are in egregious violation of international law and humanitarian principles. Dozens of Yezidis have been killed by Turkey. The people who are being assassinated by Turkey are Yezidi Genocide survivors who are from Sinjar, in Iraq, defending their land. One of the innocent victims of Turkish airstrikes is this young boy, pictured. This has outraged our Foundation and Yezidi society as a whole.
FYF has publicly and privately expressed frustration regarding these Turkish airstrikes, including with key NATO members, given the scale of civilian casualties and the negative impact on the potential return of Sinjar’s displaced people.
FYF HOSTS MALE YEZIDI GENOCIDE SURVIVORS
While international attention has rightly focused on the gendered crimes perpetrated on Yezidi women, we must not forget the fate of the young Yezidi boys (many now men), who require support and focus.
During the Yezidi Genocide, males over a certain age were considered to be men and were most often executed. However, boys were captured, indoctrinated, and forced to commit crimes against Yezidis as part of the criminal and brutal ISIS / Daesh organization.
These boys suffered immensely and were forced to be 'cubs of the caliphate,' forced to fight against their own people. We are exploring, along with partners, systemic ways to support these male survivors.
Not only have these boys suffered direct abuse and horrific mistreatment, but their childhoods have been warped terribly by ISIS / Daesh brainwashing, in many cases for years. The Yezidi community can help to build better futures for them, if given the chance.
We tried to take a small step by bringing a great friend and ally of Yezidis, Nadine Maenza, to spend time with them, express solidarity, and to listen to and understand their stories and their current needs. We were told they highly appreciated the effort and shared more about their challenges and hopes for the future than ever before.
Sugar is Sweet café, a 100% Yezidi-run facility, prepared desserts and treats for them, sharing warmth and support at our bakery café. Despite their suffering, these boys can still have a better life if they are given the essential support and tools for their future.
INTERNATIONAl RELIGIOUS FREEDOM SUMMIT KICKS OFF
Earlier this week FYF Executive Director, Pari Ibrahim, was one of three main speakers on an Advocacy Day panel kicking off the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit in Washington, DC. “In Solidarity with the Persecuted,” held at The Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill, featured testimonials from representatives of Yezidi, Rohingya, and Uygher communities speaking on the prevention of genocide. Sessions continued throughout the week. Ms. Ibrahim was a featured speaker on several other panels as well.
For more on the IRF Summit, click here.
FYF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LEADS JUSTICE TALKS WITH UN AND CIVIL SOCIETY STAKEHOLDERS
FYF’s Executive Director, Ms. Pari Ibrahim, and Mr. Murad Ismael, President and co-founder of Sinjar Academy, led in-depth, off-the-record talks on the pursuit of justice after the Yezidi Genocide with UNITAD in New York. The discussions included the challenges, progress, and next steps in advance of the Security Council briefing.
Mr. Christian Ritscher (Special Advisor, UNITAD) and his team, and representatives from the UN Office on Genocide Prevention, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and several NY-based human rights organizations joined the meeting.
FYF’s ETC & SUGAR IS SWEET CAFÉ CONTINUE TO HOST INTERNATIONAL VISITORS!
Throughout June, FYF received a number of visits from high-level global visitors. Annette Lyth, from the UN's Iraq Mission, joined FYF team members at the ETC to discuss gender matters and Yezidi affairs at our Enterprise & Training Center.
Renowned British journalist, Christina Lamb, visited both the ETC and our Sugar is Sweetcafé, where she sat over sweets and discussed the current and ongoing plight of the Yezidis and met with Yezidi survivors who were captured by ISIS as young boys and are trying to rebuild their lives.
COMING UP IN JULY
FYF will be participating in the ministerial conference on freedom of religion and beliefs, hosted by the United Kingdom. Details of speaking engagements can be found on FYF’s social media pages.
DID YOU KNOW?
During our recent FYF-USA Board of Directors meeting, Nienke Grossman was elected as co-chair of the board. She will join Nibras Basitkey, the other FYF-USA board co-chair. We are honored and bettered by those like Nienke, who give selflessly to advance the work of FYF and the ongoing plight of Yezidis.
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 NEWS
Fair Planet | Haunted by genocide, displaced Yezidis demand justice | Naomi Prodeau, an FYF lawyer, says that many Yezidis still suffer from trauma in the aftermath of the genocide.
Kurdistan 24 | Displaced Yezidi woman commits suicide in Zakho | “Yezidis have suffered from trauma and elevated rates of suicide ideation and actually committing suicide for the last years since the Yezidi Genocide ... ” said FYF ED and Founder, Pari Ibrahim.