Hounded by ISIS, Yezidis demand for creation of separate ‘Yezidi Autonomous Region’
Source :NewsBharati   Date :12-Sep-2017
Arizona, September 12: The Human Rights violation issue of the Yezidi community is undermined by the international community. The Yezidi community is facing atrocities including rapes, killings and enslavement resulting extreme human rights violation of Yezidis by ISIS since 2014. Yezidis are a minority Ethno-religious group of northern Iraq. They are non-Muslim and non-Arabs. In August 2014, ISIS (Islamic state of Iraq and Syria) had attacked Sinjar region in northern Iraq where a majority of Yezidis in Iraq stay.

The ISIS terrorists massacred thousands of Yezidi men and abducted much more women and children. About 50,000 Yezidis escaped to the nearby Sinjar mountains and had to stay there with a limited supply of food and water, facing starvation and dehydration. The abducted women had to undergo the horrors of rape and abuse and many of them have been sold as sex slaves.The Yezidis are still under ongoing atrocities including hundreds of them be enslaved for sex and hence need help on an international level for assuring their safety and survival.

To raise the voice of Yezidis, Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS-USA) organized human rights awareness event on “Genocide of Yezidis” On 2 September, in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Nearly a hundred Yezidis and Indo American community members attended the event to discuss the plight of Yezidis.

Director of FIIDS, Khanderao Kand, urged the US and international leaders to provide aid and rehabilitation to the impacted Yezidis, influence Iraq to provide better administration and safety of the Yezidis, and UN to monitor the situation to avoid any further repetition.

Mrinal Venkatesh, a research analyst of FIIDS, presented details about a scale of the genocide from the report ‘The Plight of Yezidis’. The report contains the facts and figures about the Genocide of Yezidis which is going on since 2014 and suggests ways to help Yezidis.

Canada based Yezidi Human Rights activist Mirza Ismail Yezidi elaborated how the Yezidis in Iraq had been brutally attacked by ISIS in August 2014 in which 10,000 men were killed, 7,000 women were abducted and 400,000 Yezidis were displaced to different parts of Iraq, Turkey and other countries.

Mirza Ismail, Founder & President of Yezidi Human Rights Organization – International says that the radical Muslims and especially the Sunnis from all backgrounds (Arabs, Kurds, Turks, etc.) have been trying to wipe off Yezidis from the Earth. In the last 1400 years the Yezidis have faced 74 different genocides in the Middle East, including the ongoing genocide by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, which began on August 03, 2014; just because we have a different culture, religion and way of life.

The Yezidi leader demanded that the United Nations, US, Canada, UK, EU and other members of the international community to intervene with the Iraqi Government, and support the creation of an “Autonomous Region” for the Yezidis and other minorities in the Sinjar region and Nineveh Plain, under the protection of international forces and directly tied to Baghdad's Central government. This right is already guaranteed under the Iraqi constitution, article 125, but it needs implementation! This is the only way we can survive in the Middle East.

Mirza appealed urgency of relief from neutral as well as non-governmental sources because Kurdistan Regional Government has blockaded food to the Yezidis on Mount Shingal which can lead to starvation of Yezidis.

Salem Daud, the community leader based in Arizona and Director of Yezidi North America Federation gave an update on the status of Yezidis. "Phoenix is having the second largest population of Yezidis in US. Sewa International is locally active in helping the community", said Prasad Koranne, Sewa coordinator of Phoenix.

Linda Saeed, a sixteen-year-old girl who was present in Iraq during the genocide, narrated first-hand experience of the horrors of the ISIS attack. She told a heart-wrenching incident of an elderly Yezidi man who lost his life while saving her and few other Yezidi children. She also narrated how when she went for help to her neighbours they said they can offer her only water but they cannot open the gates for her because she was being chased by ISIS and to which she replied: “Don’t give us water, Open the gates”. She summarized the current need of Yezidis with modifying the same quote as, “Don’t give us only words, open the gates “, implying to allow them as the refugee .

On behalf of International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS), Shyam Byra mentioned ICCS is helping Yezidis to publish a book on their religion, culture and history.

The event saw a great participation from the Yezidi and Indo American community and FIIDS, ICCS , Sewa and other organisations are planning to have more activities to improve coordination between Indo-American and Yezidi communities.