Yazidi genocide anniversary serves as grim reminder of Daesh’s crimes against humanity

Special Yazidi genocide anniversary serves as grim reminder of Daesh’s crimes against humanity
1 / 5
Mourners carry coffins wrapped in the Iraqi flag during a mass funeral on Feb. 6, 2021 for Yazidi victims of the Daesh group's violent rampage in the northern Iraq's Sinjar district. (AFP file)
Special Yazidi genocide anniversary serves as grim reminder of Daesh’s crimes against humanity
2 / 5
Forensic workers inspect a zone during the exhumation of a mass-grave of hundreds of Yazidis killed by Daesh militants in the Iraqi village of Kojo in Sinjar district on March 15, 2019. (AFP)
Special Yazidi genocide anniversary serves as grim reminder of Daesh’s crimes against humanity
3 / 5
Iraqi Yazidis take part in a ceremony during the exhumation of a mass-grave of hundreds of Yazidis killed by Daesh militants in the Iraqi village of Kojo in Sinjar district on March 15, 2019. (AFP)
Special Yazidi genocide anniversary serves as grim reminder of Daesh’s crimes against humanity
4 / 5
Displaced Iraqi Yazidis, who fled a jihadist onslaught on Sinjar, demonstrate demanding more aid at the Bajid Kandala camp in Kurdistan's western Dohuk province. (AFP)
Special Yazidi genocide anniversary serves as grim reminder of Daesh’s crimes against humanity
5 / 5
Displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community are pictured at camp for internally displaced persons in the city of Zakho, Iraq, on May 5, 2022. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 08 August 2022

Yazidi genocide anniversary serves as grim reminder of Daesh’s crimes against humanity

Yazidi genocide anniversary serves as grim reminder of Daesh’s crimes against humanity
  • Terrorist group invaded the Yazidi homeland in Iraq on Aug. 3, 2014, and unleashed mass violence and murder
  • Many of the genocide survivors are today IDPs trapped in a miserable life in camps with few facilities or services

DUBAI: On August 3, Yazidis around the world will come together to mourn their brothers, sisters, parents, and other loved ones who were massacred by Daesh eight years ago.

It was on that fateful day in 2014 that Daesh hordes invaded the historic Yazidi homeland, Sinjar, in Iraq. The terrorist group murdered 1,268 people on the first day; and throughout the weeks that followed, 6,417 Yazidis were kidnapped, 3,548 of whom were women and underage girls who were thrown into sexual slavery and forced labor.

The entire community fled, seeking safety in the mountains of Sinjar. More than 65 percent of Yazidis became displaced.




An aerial view shows a snow covered displacement camp for Yazidi people in the area of Dawudya, about 60 km north of Dohuk in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, on Jan. 25, 2022. (AFP)

“I am able to announce, that based upon independent and impartial investigations, complying with international standards and UN best practice, there is clear and convincing evidence, that the crimes against the Yazidi people, clearly constituted genocide,” Karim Khan, of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh, told the Security Council in 2017.

A few months into the 2014 genocide, Sinjar and US-based Yazidis established an organization, Yazda, as an emergency response unit to help rescue their community from extinction. It became clear after the release and escape of some women that Daesh was deliberately targeting and sexually enslaving Yazidis due to their religious identity.




Iraqi women mourn during the exhumation of a mass-grave of hundreds of Yazidis killed by Daesh militants in the northern Iraqi village of Kojo in Sinjar district on March 15, 2019. (AFP)

Dabiq, the online magazine used by Daesh for Islamic radicalization and recruitment purposes, published fatwas calling on the militants to enslave Yazidis as they were considered “devil worshippers.”

Yazda has logged testimonies from survivors who recounted militants telling them their community would “never welcome them back after what was done to them.”

As of today, 3,545 Yazidis have returned to their families; 1,205 of whom are women who risked their lives to escape captivity.

The survivors were physically, sexually, mentally, and spiritually devastated, with Yazda offering full access to psycho-social and protection services, while also documenting testimonies.

Some spoke of forced abortions, others shared how they self-harmed in order to miscarry after they learned the militants were keen on keeping the children. Some women even decided to complete their pregnancies and did their best to raise their children through re-education programs.

Today, many of these survivors are internally displaced persons trapped in a miserable life in camps. They complain that the facilities are in miserable condition with no access to critical services such as food, water, electricity and safe housing.

There are no recreational spaces to help encourage community building activities, and women and children are also unable to complete their education.

Against all odds, Yazidi women continue to fight for themselves.




Iraqi Yazidi women protest outside the UN office in Arbil, Iraq, on Aug. 2, 2015 in support of women from their community who were kidnapped last year in the Sinjar region by Daesh jihadis. (AFP)

A platform created within Yazda, the Yazidi Survivors Network, has given women from the community the space to advocate for their cause as they felt it vital that their voices are present when decisions were being taken.

“I want to be able to speak for myself and not have others speak for me,” one survivor and YSN member said.

Another said: “We want to participate in every decision that affects us as survivors. We want to be our own voice in all projects that concern us because only we know what we have been through and what we need in order to achieve the peace and security we desire, as well as to recover from our suffering.”

Justice, though, can be achieved through different ways for the survivors.




An aerial picture shows mourners gathering around coffins wrapped with the Iraqi flag during a mass funeral for Yazidi victims of Daesh militants in Sinjar district of Iraq on Feb. 6, 2021. (AFP)

Yazidis have been advocating to bring Daesh militants to court and prosecute them for crimes against humanity, namely for genocide. But while many petitions have been filed and are receiving funds to cover costs, what they lack is the quantity of legal advocacy needed for commitment to the cases that have piled up.

Apart from legal prosecution, the safe return to Sinjar is another form of justice Yazidis have been hoping for since their exile, where they can find their missing family members and give a proper burial to the ones they lost.

Another aspect of justice is global recognition of their genocide. To date, there has been no follow-through from the international community on helping the Yazidi community. More surprising is that no Middle Eastern country besides Iraq has formally recognized the genocide.




Every year on Aug. 3, survivors of the genocide hold a vigil to remember the thousands of Yazidi dead. (AFP File)

Even in Iraq, where the genocide is legally recognized under Article 7 of the law, the acknowledgement has not been fully realized. At a commemorative event, YSN member Nasrin Hassan Rasho said: “I demand the Iraqi state adopt a national project for transitional justice that explicitly and clearly includes a legal recognition of the Yazidi genocide and that of other minorities.”

Many female survivors expressed their concern on being treated like second-class citizens in Iraq and the Kurdistan region. Despite their history of shared violence under the brutality of Daesh, there have been no efforts of reconciliation or efforts to resolve the discrimination.

On a personal level for survivors, the lack of their inclusion affects their productivity, independence and sense of self, which in turn hinders their psychological rehabilitation and treatment.

Suzan Safar, a Yazidi genocide survivor and founder of the Dak Organization for Ezidi Women Development, said: “This marginalization, carelessness and negligence of the Sinjar cause practiced by the government makes us feel and gives us the impression that unfortunately we are not first-class citizens, but second-class ones.




Suzan Safar participating in a forum on women empowerment forum in Arbil.  (AFP file photo)

“This is what we are sensing from the actions that we are witnessing from the Iraqi government.”

In his  2017 presentation to the Security Council, UNITAD head Khan did recognize that genocide had occurred — which in itself is a big step forward in the pursuit of justice.

Underscoring the importance of this development, members of the YSN have said: “This genocide recognition by UNITAD is very important for all Yazidis. For us, the genocide qualification of the crimes is very important since it is the only way to prevent other genocides against the Yazidis and other minorities from happening again in the future.”

 

Druze: the great survivors
How the world's most secretive faithhas endured for a thousand years

Enter


keywords

 


Iran sentences five to death over killing of Basij paramilitary

Iran sentences five to death over killing of Basij paramilitary
Updated 06 December 2022

Iran sentences five to death over killing of Basij paramilitary

Iran sentences five to death over killing of Basij paramilitary
  • Another 11 people, including 3 children, were handed lengthy jail terms

TEHRAN: Iran has sentenced to death five people over the killing of a member of the Basij paramilitary force during nationwide protests, the judiciary said Tuesday.
Another 11 people, including three children, were handed lengthy jail terms over the death of Ruhollah Ajamian, judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayeshi told a news conference, adding the sentences could be appealed.
A group of 15 people had been charged with “corruption on earth” over the death of Ajamian on November 3 in Karaj, a city west of Tehran, the judiciary’s Mizan Online website reported last week.
Prosecutors said Ajamian, 27, was stripped naked and killed by a group of mourners who had been paying tribute to a slain protester, Hadis Najafi, during ceremonies marking 40 days since her death.
Najafi was killed during unrest that has gripped Iran since the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, after her arrest for an alleged breach of the country’s dress code for women.
Initially, on November 12, Mizan Online announced charges for 11 people over Ajamian’s killing, including a woman but as the trial opened, it said 15 defendants in the case had been charged.
An Iranian general said on Monday that more than 300 people have been killed in the unrest, including dozens of members of the security forces.
Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands have been arrested, including 40 foreigners and prominent actors, journalists and lawyers.
The latest court rulings bring to 11 the number of people sentenced to death in Iran over the violence sparked by Amini’s death.


Kuwait’s Prime Minister heads to Qatar for World Cup

Kuwait’s Prime Minister heads to Qatar for World Cup
Updated 06 December 2022

Kuwait’s Prime Minister heads to Qatar for World Cup

Kuwait’s Prime Minister heads to Qatar for World Cup
  • Visit came in response to invitation from the Qatari prime minister

DOHA: Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah headed to Qatar on Tuesday to attend a FIFA World Cup match in Doha, state news agency (KUNA) reported.

His visit came in response to the invitation from his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Khaled bin Khalifa Al Thani.

On Monday, the UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan visited Doha where he held talks with Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.


1,200 Iranian students ‘poisoned’ on eve of mass protests

1,200 Iranian students ‘poisoned’ on eve of mass protests
Updated 06 December 2022

1,200 Iranian students ‘poisoned’ on eve of mass protests

1,200 Iranian students ‘poisoned’ on eve of mass protests
  • National student union blames outbreak on authorities
  • Streets surrounding universities littered with contaminated food dumped by students

LONDON: A group of 1,200 university students in Iran have been struck by a food poisoning outbreak on the eve of anti-regime demonstrations set to be held throughout the country, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The students at Kharazmi and Arak universities, as well as four other institutions, threw their provided food onto surrounding streets in protest, with the country’s national student union accusing authorities of deliberately poisoning people.

In a statement, the union said: “Our past experiences of similar incidents at the Isfahan university negates the authorities’ reason for this mass food poisoning.”

Officials have blamed the outbreak on water-borne bacteria.

However, clinics in several affected universities have also closed or run out of supplies to treat dehydration and other associated symptoms of food poisoning, in a sign that the outbreak may have been a deliberate strategy to thwart the national protest movement.

It came as a three-day nationwide strike was due to begin on Wednesday, intensifying public pressure against the regime.

Meanwhile, Iranian authorities denied reports that the regime would disband the country’s morality police.

The religious force was behind the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in custody in September, triggering mass protests.

A state broadcaster said: “No official in the Islamic Republic of Iran has confirmed the closure of the morality police.

“Some foreign media have tried to characterize the attorney general’s statement as the Islamic Republic’s withdrawal from its hijab (laws) and influenced by the recent riots.”

As more Iranian public figures show support for the protest movement, authorities on Monday closed two businesses belonging to former national football team star Ali Daei.

The ex-striker, who scored 109 international goals, said last week that he had faced threats after showing public support for the anti-regime movement.

A jewelry store as well as a restaurant belonging to Daei were closed during the move by authorities.

A state news agency said: “Following the cooperation with anti-revolutionary groups in cyberspace to disrupt peace and business of the market, a judicial order was issued to seal Noor Jewelry Gallery.”


Iran arrests 12 with alleged European links: report

Iran arrests 12 with alleged European links: report
Updated 06 December 2022

Iran arrests 12 with alleged European links: report

Iran arrests 12 with alleged European links: report
  • Iran said the arrested had connections with Germany and Netherlands
  • The 12 individuals were arrested for carrying out “activities against national security”

TEHRAN: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have arrested 12 alleged members of a European-linked group accused of planning acts of sabotage in the country, Tasnim news agency said.
The Islamic republic has been rocked by more than two months of what it calls deadly “riots” that it says have been fomented by the United States, its allies and foreign-based opposition groups.
The street violence erupted in mid-September after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman of Kurdish origin, in the custody of the morality police in Tehran.
In a statement quoted by Tasnim, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Markazi province, southwest of Tehran, said it had arrested “a network with 12 members with links abroad.”
It alleged they had been “under the guidance of counter-revolutionary agents living in Germany and the Netherlands” and carried out “activities against national security.”
They had “attempted to procure weapons and intended to carry out subversive acts” but had been captured before being able to do so, it added.
The Guards statement said the “riots project has failed,” in reference to the nationwide protests triggered by Amini’s death.
It warned that acts of sabotage would continue, however, and appealed for the “vigilance of loyal people... especially shopkeepers, students and workers” to foil them.
It appeared to be referring to calls for a three-day strike culminating Wednesday on “Student Day,” as part of the protests.
An Iranian general said last week that more than 300 people have been killed in the unrest, including dozens of security personnel.
Oslo-based non-government organization Iran Human Rights said at least 448 people had been “killed by security forces in the ongoing nationwide protests.”
Thousands have been arrested, including prominent Iranian actors and footballers.


27-year-old Iranian subjected to three mock executions in prison: BBC

27-year-old Iranian subjected to three mock executions in prison: BBC
Updated 06 December 2022

27-year-old Iranian subjected to three mock executions in prison: BBC

27-year-old Iranian subjected to three mock executions in prison: BBC
  • Mock executions are a form of psychological torture in which a victim is made to feel that their execution is taking place but it is not carried out
  • Like others, the man's death sentence can be appealed, but Iranian judiciary chief said executions would take place soon

LONDON: A 27-year-old man who is one of six people sentenced to death in Iran over ongoing anti-regime protests has been subjected to several mock executions in prison, the BBC reported

Last month, a Revolutionary Court found Sahand Noormohammadzadeh guilty of acts of “vandalism and arson of public property with the aim of causing disruption to the country's peace and order and confronting the Islamic government,” according to the Mizan News Agency.

Prosecutors accused him of taking part in riots by blocking a highway and setting fire to bins and tires. They showed the court a video in which a man in a mask, whom they claimed was the defendant, is seen pushing a burning garbage can onto the road and placing a railing between two lanes.

Noormohammadzadeh protested his innocence and his lawyer told the court there was no evidence to suggest that his client was the masked man.

A source told BBC Persian that interrogators falsely informed Noormohammadzadeh that his mother had suffered a heart attack and that he must sign a letter if he wanted to speak to her before she died. The letter, according to a lawyer in Tehran, amounted to an admission of guilt, the BBC reported.

The court sentenced Noormohammadzadeh to death for “enmity against God” and he has been subjected to mock executions three times in prison, a source told BBC Persian.

A mock execution is a form of psychological torture whereby a victim is made to feel that their execution is taking place but is not carried out. The BBC’s source said that even before his trial, Noormohammadzadeh was told “to go on a chair, blindfolded, to be hanged.”

Amnesty International has warned that at least 21 people are at risk of being sentenced to death in “sham trials” over the protests in Iran.

While the sentences of the six defendants handed a death penalty can be appealed, judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said on Monday that the executions would take place soon, the BBC reported.

About 18,200 people are estimated to have been arrested since the nationwide protests erupted in September in response to the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency. Many of them reportedly have been tortured or subjected to other forms of ill-treatment while in custody.