Exposed: How Houthi militias are killing off Yemen media

A Houthi militant takes part in a parade in Sanaa, Yemen, in this December 19, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 December 2017
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Exposed: How Houthi militias are killing off Yemen media

ADEN: Iran-backed Houthi militias were accused on Monday of an unprecedented campaign of violence, intimidation, abduction and murder aimed at journalists and the media in Yemen.
At least 26 journalists have been killed since the Houthi coup in 2014, said Women Journalists Without Chains, a civil rights group in Yemen.
The Houthis are also guilty of attempted murder, abduction, torture, threats, assaults, looting of property, the abduction of relatives, the use of journalists as human shields, closing newspapers and TV channels and blocking websites, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate said.
Eighteen journalists are still in Houthi custody, and denied their right to medical treatment, the syndicate said. They include nine journalists arrested while working in Sanaa in June 2016, who remain detained. They are being tortured, their families are not permitted to visit them, and they are not allowed medical treatment. Yemen’s Minister of Information, Moammar Al-Eryani, said that before the Houthi coup Yemen had 17 daily newspapers, 155 weeklies, 26 monthlies, and other publications. There were also four official TV channels and 15 private ones. By 2015 there were only 15 newspapers and two official TV channels, the minister said.
A UN report in August said the Houthis had carried out a campaign of intimidation, arbitrary detention, forced disappearance and murder against activists, journalists and members of civil society. They had shut down 21 websites and seven TV channels, banned the publication of 18 newspapers, raided buildings and attacked 52 civil society and human rights organizations, the UN said.
The Houthis targeted all media institutions and their staff, and confiscated their equipment, and the legitimate government and its supporters no longer had any influence in areas controlled by the militias.
In March 2016, photographer Mohammed Al-Yamani was shot dead and four of his colleagues were wounded when Houthi snipers opened fire on journalists covering the fighting in Taiz.


Iraq: Yazidis to accept children of Daesh rape into community

Updated 3 min 43 sec ago
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Iraq: Yazidis to accept children of Daesh rape into community

  • Thousands of women and girls were forced into sexual slavery when the extremists attacked Yazidi communities in northwestern Iraq
  • The Yazidi Supreme Spiritual Council issued a decree welcoming the survivors of slavery, and their children, into the Yazidi community

IRBIL, Iraq: The children of Yazidi women raped by Daesh men will be welcomed into the minority faith, a community leader said Thursday, allowing women taken as slaves by the militant group to return to Iraq from Syria.
Eido Baba Sheikh, son of the Yazidi spiritual leader Baba Sheikh, said the children of the formerly enslaved women will be treated as members of the faith, resolving one of the most difficult questions facing the community since the Daesh group’s 2014 campaign to try to exterminate the minority. Thousands of women and girls were forced into sexual slavery when the extremists attacked Yazidi communities in northwestern Iraq.
But the community shunned the women returning from captivity with children, a reflection of the deeply held Yazidi traditions to view outsiders with suspicion as a response to centuries of persecution.
US-backed Kurdish forces defeated the last fragments of the Daesh group’s self-styled “caliphate” in Syria in March, raising the possibility that thousands of missing Yazidi women and children might be found and reunited with their families.
Still, some 3,000 Yazidis are still missing. Many of the children enslaved by militants in 2014 were separated from their parents and given to Daesh families for rearing. Boys were pressed into the militants’ cub scouts, given military training, and indoctrinated in extremist ideology.
Officials at the Beit Yazidi foundation in Kurdish-administered northeast Syria said Yazidi women with children who could have returned to Iraq were choosing to stay in Syria, instead, in order not to be separated from their children.
Other women gave their young ones up for adoption to find acceptance among their community.
The Yazidi Supreme Spiritual Council issued a decree welcoming the survivors of slavery, and their children, into the Yazidi community, on Wednesday.
Murad Ismael, a founder of the global Yazidi charity Yazda, said it will nevertheless take time for the community in Iraq to accept the mothers and their children, because of the stigma of rape.
“It will take a couple of years for the community to digest this fully,” he said.
He said many women and children will have to seek resettlement in other countries, some to escape the stigma of their situation, and to find psychosocial services to heal after the trauma of slavery.
The community sent two representatives to search for Yazidi women and children in the camps in northeast Syria, where tens of thousands of civilians who survived the Daesh caliphate are waiting to be returned to their places of origin, said Eido Baba Sheikh.
He said it is believed that there could be Yazidi children among foreign or Daesh families in the camps, a result of the sale of Yazidis under the caliphate. Complicating the search will be that many of the children may have never learned to identify as Yazidis, or to speak Kurmanji, the language of the community. Women and older children may have started to identify with their captors, as well, confounding search efforts.
And though the community will recognize the children of Yazidi survivors as Yazidis, they will still face legal difficulties in Iraq, said Eido Baba Sheikh. Under the country’s family laws, a child is registered under the nationality and religion of their father, and it is unclear whether Iraq will allow Yazidi survivors to register their children as Iraqi Yazidis when there are questions about the children’s patrimony.
Also on Thursday, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish regional government, asked for continued US support to allow Iraqis displaced by the war with IS to return to their homes, according to a State Department statement on a call between Barzani and Vice President Mike Pence.
Iraq’s Kurdish region hosts more than 1 million displaced people, including many of the 200,000 Yazidis forced to flee their homes when the Daesh militants attacked their communities in 2014.