AUGUST 2021 NEWSLETTER
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.
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,
Free Yezidi FoundationCONTRI
In the News
| 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.