Why this campaign?
Six years after the ISIS genocide on the Yazidis, they still suffer from the aftermath and negative impact of the events. This is seen both in the security as well as the geopolitical status quo in northern Iraq. Religious minorities including Yazidis in the northern region of Iraq and Sinjar face difficult obstacles to their safe return. Several thousands of them continue to be internally displaced and unable to return to their home settlements (Werthmuller 2020). New sources of conflict within the region threaten to disrupt reconstruction efforts. Even though ISIS as an organized terrorist group was defeated in 2017, the areas which were under its control have been devastated and remain uninhabited. Moreover, the presence and conflicts between different political and armed groups, means there is the possibility of Yazidis being persecuted on the basis of their religion.
Therefore we as Farida Global Organization do want to memorize the 3rd of August also this year. This will help the survivors to feel strengthened as we remember this day and give them special attention. Also we want to state that any genocide against any people group should never happen again.
What can you do?
Join our campaign by sharing campaign’s logo and your reflections on social media using
Campaign by @Farida Global Organization
What happened and why it is a genocide?
In August 2014, members of ISIS attacked Sinjar region (northern Iraq). Yazidi men were either forced to convert or killed on the spot, while women and girls were taken as sex slaves and sold at slave markets. Some of these girls were as young as nine years old. Young boys were taken from their families and forced to become soldiers in ISIS training camps (HRC, 2016)
The Crime of Genocide (Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948) involves when a person commits acts intended to destroy a national, ethical, racial or religious group. These acts include killing, causing grave physical or mental harm to members of the group, and transferring children of the group to another group. Besides, the perpetrator must have a special intent to destroy the group, and attacks against members must stem directly from the victims’ membership in that particular group (HRC, 2016).
According to the Human Rights Council (2016), ISIS intentionally killed hundreds of Yazidis as part of its targeted attack on Sinjar. These killings include those killed during the initial attack, those who died as a result of starvation from ISIS preventing food and supplies from being delivered as well as those who were beheaded while in captivity for refusing to convert to Islam. Mass killings were organized against both men and women, with several mass graves containing the remains of men and adolescent boys being uncovered (HRC, 2016).
Yazidis were victims of serious bodily or mental harm under the attacks from ISIS. Captured women and girls were raped and sexually abused through brutal violence, sometimes victims were as young as 9 (nine) years old (Khalaf and Hoffmann 2016). They were also subjected to entrenched sexual slavery which in itself is a crime against humanity. ISIS fighters exercised the powers of ownership over the captured Yazidis, purchasing, selling and gifting them as well as forcing them to engage in sexual acts. They were deemed as property to be traded and sold either to ISIS fighters or online. Attempts to resist being sold were repressed through severe violent beatings and threats against any children the woman may have. Consequently, some committed suicide due to the hopelessness and despair of the situation. (Murad et al. 2017). Female survivors of sexual slavery inflicted by ISIS experience depression, trauma, and distress. Access to psychosocial support in itself is limited, with the psychological impact of also limiting the victims’ willingness to accept trauma therapy.
On 16 June 2016 The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria has determined that ISIS committed crimes of genocide against the Yazidi people.
Video copyright: Aljazeera