European Syriac Union calls for more to be done for minorities in Iraq on anniversary of Yezidi Genocide

On the 7th anniversary of the Yezidi genocide in Shengal (Sinjar) committed by the Islamic State (ISIS), the European Syriac Union (ESU) issued a statement commemorating the events and calling for justice for the victims and reconstruction and security for the affected communities.

In August of 2014, during the violent conflict in Iraq, ISIS and other terrorist groups entered this conflict zone, took control of Mosul, forced minorities such as Yezidis and Christians to leave their historic areas, and occupied the areas and territories of Shengal and Nineveh Plains.

Amid the inability of the Iraqi government and the international community to protect them, the Yezidi people were subjected to the most heinous, barbaric, and inhuman crimes by ISIS.

According to Nadia’s initiative, a non-profit organization set up by Nobel Prize winner Nadia Murad, more than 2,800 women and children are still missing, nearly 200,000 Yazidi are still displaced within Iraqi territory, and more than 150,000 live in Shengal with minimal health resources — not nearly enough to address the coronavirus pandemic.

Minorities and vulnerable groups have been victims of wars, conflicts, and political, social, and economic unrest in Iraq for more than two decades, said the ESU statement. Their rights and demands have been ignored, it continued, adding that with the recent wave of violence, the presence of minorities in Iraq is on the brink of collapse.

The ESU stressed that securing the home and future of those groups is an urgent and fundamental need and to achieve that goal, Iraqi authorities and the international community must support the Yezidi people. One important way for this to be achieved is autonomous governance in Nineveh Plains.

The European Syriac Union concluded its statement by affirming its solidarity with the Yezidi people and reiterating its call for the international and regional community to work for the freedom of those still help captive. The future of Shengal must be secured, said the ESU, adding that the survival of Iraqi religious and ethnic minorities would send a fundamental message to the whole region.