Yazidis

Thoughts and prayers. Promises of "never again." They are not enough. Seven years after ISIS committed genocide against the Yazidi community, my ethno-religious minority, in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of people remain internally displaced and more than 2,800 women and children remain missing. Shelter, clean water, health care and education are luxuries, if available at all.

Those of us who were there -- who ran for our lives to the protection of Mount Sinjar, who heard the gunshots as men and older women were shot and dumped into mass graves, and who, like me, were sold into sexual slavery -- cannot forget what happened or how the world ignored our cries for help.…  Seguir leyendo »

Deserted ruins in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar. (Samya Kullab/AP)

On Aug. 3, the world marks the seventh anniversary of the mass murder of Yazidis by the forces of the Islamic State — a crime that has been recognized as a genocide by a number of international institutions. Last month, the Belgian and Netherlands parliaments adopted recognition resolutions, and earlier this year, a United Nations team concluded that the atrocities committed against the Yazidis constituted a genocide. These positive developments have renewed Yazidis’ hope that the international community — which did little to prevent the massacre of our people starting in August 2014 — remains committed to our survival.

Yet we still face a number of pressing issues.…  Seguir leyendo »

In 2015, a Yazidi woman, who escaped from Islamic State militants, carried water at Sharya refugee camp on the outskirts of Iraq’s Dahuk province. (Ari Jala/Reuters)

Three years ago this month, the Islamic State started a systematic attack against the Kurdish-speaking Yazidi minority based in the Sinjar area of northwestern Iraq. We now have a better understanding of the militant group’s patterns of violence and goals because of the discovery of mass graves, survivor testimonies and the Islamic State’s  public declarations.

This new evidence tells us that while the Islamic State’s extremist ideology provided the guiding principle, large numbers of locals with varying motives actively participated in these atrocities. The pursuit of material gains and stigmatization of the Yazidis as a marginalized religious minority have been the driving factors of the violence at the local level.…  Seguir leyendo »