On behalf of the Yazidi community, I wish to extend our compassion and understanding to our Armenian sisters and brothers, who are today commemorating the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Just over a century ago, the Ottoman Turkish authorities perpetrated a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Yazidis. Millions were killed or perished on death marches without food or water, just as our Yazidi people were murdered on Mt Sinjar in 2014 at the hands of ISIS. Armenian women and children were abducted, forcibly converted, raped, trafficked and forced to marry their perpetrators, tortures that thousands of our Yazidi women and children are enduring now. Yazidis and Armenians have been neighbours for centuries. The Armenian Genocide, which began on 24 April 1915, displaced so many. Yazidis numbered more than half a million people in Turkey a century ago. Now there are only a few hundred. In contrast, Armenia is home to tens of thousands of Yazidis and grants them freedom to practise their religion and culture, and to participate fully in political and social life. Turkey still today denies the genocide of the Armenians, a denial that is entrenched in the Turkish establishment and compounds the intergenerational trauma for Armenians. As Yazidis, we call on the global community to recognise the heinous crimes committed against the Armenians and other minorities by the Ottoman Turks. And let this also be a reminder to the world of the importance of recognition and perpetrator accountability. I hope that in 100 years, Yazidis are not still asking for acknowledgement of the crimes they endured under ISIS, but rather, that the history books will tell of perpetrators being prosecuted and a Yazidi community that is surviving and flourishing, like the Armenians are today.
Nadia Murad: A message on the occassion of Yazidi new year "Charshame Sari Sali" https://youtu.be/YeOGZ8m7Hkk
Since August 3, 2014, Yazidis continue to endure an ongoing genocide perpetrated by the so-called ‘Islamic State’, which had one target - the total annihilation of Yazidi identity and existence. Since the beginning of this genocide; celebrations and joyful events have been almost entirely absent from our community which remain in mourning. Yazidis have tended to cancel almost all of their traditional social and religious ceremonies.
On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, we will be welcoming the Yazidi new Year “Çaršama Sarî Salî”. This is a unique celebration to the Yezidi community, a commemoration of the day in which the creation of the universe by the angels was completed and life and nature began, and also to mark the beginning of fertility on earth.
Yazidis start their prayers by asking God “Xuda” to bring peace and protection to all nations including Yazidis. Yazda’s staff, members and volunteers would like to send their most sincere wishes for peace and protection to everyone in every corner of the world, including our Yazidi people.
Yazda affirms the fortitude of our people in face of many genocides endured over the years. Yazda calls on our people to continue to observe their religious events to preserve the ethno-religious identity and heritage of one of most ancient peoples, the Yazidis.
As we celebrate this holiday, we remember the more than 3,000 Yazidi women and children who are still in ISIS captivity where the most heinous crimes are being committed against them. We also remember the thousands of widows and orphans who are facing enormous difficulties on a daily basis after the genocide. The majority of the Yazidi community in Kurdistan Region, Iraq, Syria and Turkey are in a very difficult situation. Most Yazidi areas in Iraq are still either under the control of IS or unsuitable for Yazidis to return to because of insecurity and devastation.
Yazidis have not received justice or had their rights vindicated by means of legal tribunal holding ISIS perpetrators accountable for the genocide. These terrorists still enjoy universal impunity, as there is still no legal mechanism to hold them accountable. Additionally, Yazidis' needs have not been met by the international community, regional and local governments, including their demand to establish a safe zone under international protection, or the creation of a new administrative area that would guarantee full civic rights for Yazidis and other persecuted religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.
The situation in the Yazidi areas is one of increased instability and threat, especially Sinjar, which have become a battleground for local and regional conflicts between many competing political and military groups. This situation has resulted in creating the greatest danger facing the Yazidi community, which may ultimately be more dangerous than the ongoing genocide itself.
On this occasion, Yazda calls on the international community (the United States, the member states of the European Union, the permanent members of the United Nations and other concerned countries) to:
- Establish an accountability mechanism to hold ISIS criminals legally accountable for genocide and other crimes against the Yazidi.
- Establish safe zones or provide international protection for Yazidis and other persecuted religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.
- Rescue more than 3000 Yazidi women and children from ISIS captivity and provide more support to ISIS survivors such as psychotherapy and humanitarian assistance.
- Continue to provide Yazidis with opportunities to relocate to safe countries through specific immigration programmes such as the Canadian, German and Australian programmes.
In the Brandenburg Parliament, Nadia Murad shared her experiences and thanked the parliament for welcoming Yazidi refugees.
Another step toward justice. Thank you @scotgov The Scottish Parliament, Ben Macpherson MSP for taking this important step, and formally asking the UK Government to request the UN Security Council refer the Yazidi Genocide to the International Criminal Court
The International Community must do more to fight terrorism & extremism. Terrorists must be held accountable for their crimes everywhere in the world.
When we see no justice for victims of genocide committed by ISIS criminals for more than two years and half, then we should expect more attacks by the same criminals and their allies not just in Iraq, UK, EU, USA but everywhere in the world.
We stand together🇬🇧#PrayForLondon
Salam Mukhaibir’s death this month, along with four other Yazidi fighters, marked the latest dark turn for an Iraqi minority sect that has suffered genocide at the hands of the Islamic State.
Read more in The Washington Post.
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and her client Nadia Murad a human rights activist and Yazidi genocide survivor, listen during a United Nations human rights meeting called “The Fight against Impunity for Atrocities: Bringing Daesh [ISIS] to Justice”Read More
Gloria Steinem sits down with human trafficking survivor and human rights activist, Nadia Murad.Read More
Yazda is an organization born from tragedy. After ISIS systematically attacked, enslaved, raped, and murdered the Yazidi people in northern Iraq beginning in 2014—in what now has been called a genocide by the United Nations, the European parliament, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry—a group of activists of Yazidi heritage came together in the U.S. to advocate for the rights, safety, and wellbeing of their people.Read More
In December 2016, the Supreme Court of Germany authorised the issuance of an arrest warrant against an ISIS commander who is allegedly responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Yazidi minority in Syria and Iraq. The ISIS commander – whose name will not be disclosed for the time being – was identified for prosecution by the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office. He is said to be high-ranking and responsible for the abduction and sexual enslavement of Yazidi women.
In August 2014, ISIS attacked the Sinjar region in Northern Iraq, homeland to the Yazidis, a peaceful minority targeted by ISIS because of their ancient religion. Thousands of men and older women were executed on the spot, while girls were captured to become “sex slaves” and young boys kidnapped and trained to be child soldiers. Over 360,000 Yazidis were displaced in a matter of days.
Over two and a half years later, more than 3,000 Yazidis remain in ISIS captivity. The United Nations has recognised that the crimes committed by ISIS against the Yazidis amount to genocide. But to date, no member of ISIS has been indicted or tried anywhere in the world for these atrocities.
This arrest warrant is an opportunity to change that. Amal Clooney, counsel to Yazda, Nadia Murad and other Yazidi ISIS survivors, congratulates the German Federal Prosecutor Christian Ritscher and his team for this achievement. It is hoped that the perpetrator can now be arrested and brought to trial. And that prosecutors in other countries show a similar commitment to holding members of ISIS accountable through their courts, where there is jurisdiction to do so.