Posted on August 3, 2016 by Editorial Staff in 1 Top News, Yazidis
Displaced Yazidi Kurds, fleeing violence from Islamic State group in Sinjar, northwest Iraq. Photo: Reuters
HEWLÊR-Erbil, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— Events are taking place across Iraq’s Kurdistan Region and globally to mark the second anniversary of the Sinjar massacre and the start of the Islamic State genocide against the Yazidi population.
At Sharafadeen Shrine, northeast of Mount Sinjar, people have gathered at the site considered a symbol of the Yazidi resistance, said Qasim Shasho, a Yazidi commander in the Peshmerga forces in Shingal [Sinjar].
Shasho told Rudaw that the Islamic State (IS) attempted 17 times to reach Sharafadeen shrine but they were defeated each time.
On the heights of Bawela village in Halabja, many people including refugees from Syrian Kurdistan [Rojava] and displaced Iraqis are planning to climb a hill to commemorate the liberation of Shingal from IS.
One of the event organizers told Rudaw that the people of Halabja want to support and share the pain of the Yazidis. Halabja itself was victim of genocide carried out by Saddam Hussein.
Representatives from Halabja have demanded the United Nations (UN) and world countries recognize the Shingal case as genocide.
In Sulaimani, several organizations have planned to carry out activities in Bareka camp where many Yazidi families have sought refuge.
In Shingal, a diverse program is planned, including music and theatrical performances to re-enact the events of two years ago. They will be broadcast live on TV and radio.
The Mayor of Shingal, Mahma Khalil, spoke to a large audience at Sharafadeen Shrine Wednesday morning. He thanked the Kurdish forces for their efforts to confront IS and extended his gratitude to all those offering to assist Shingal.
Memorial events are also being held internationally.
In London, Yazda, a Yazidi advocacy organization, is coordinating with several other groups to hold a commemoration at 6pm in Trafalgar Square where they will be asking the UN to help Yazidi girls and women who are still in IS captivity.
In Washington DC, a candlelight vigil organized by the Free Yazidi Foundation will be held in front of the White House at 8pm.
In Berlin, a march organized by Yazda will be held from Alexanderplatz to the Brandenburg Gate.
Islamic State group has captured most parts of Sinjar district, west of Mosul on August 3, 2014 after Iraqi Kurdish KDP Peshmerga forces withdrew from Sinjar without a fight, leaving behind the Kurdish Yazidi civilians, which led thousands of Kurdish families to flee to Mount Sinjar, where they were trapped in it and suffered from significant lack of water and food, killing and abduction of thousands of Yazidis as well as rape and captivity of thousands of women.
Those who stay behind are subjected to brutal, genocidal acts: thousands killed, hundreds buried alive, and countless acts of rape, kidnapping and enslavement are perpetuated against Yazidi women. To add insult to injury, IS fighters ransack and destroy ancient Yazidi holy sites.
Of around 5,000 Yazidi women captured by the jihadi militants in the summer of 2014, some 2,000 have managed to escape or been smuggled out of Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate, activists say. The rest remain in captivity. The women are forced into sex slavery and are subjected to systematic rape which the UN have confirmed.
The Peshmerga are blamed for their abandonment of Sinjar in the hours before IS launched their attack. Many Yazidis lost faith in the KDP party and its leader Massoud Barzani when its forces failed to protect them from Islamic State militants.
The Yazidi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State on Nov. 13, 2015 by Kurdish coalition forces.
The EU, US, UN and UK parliament recognize Islamic State killing of Yazidi Kurds as ‘Genocide’.
The Yazidis are a Kurdish religious group linked to Zoroastrianism and Sufism. They currently live primarily in Iraq’s Kurdistan region and the Nineveh Province of northern Iraq.
Over 600,000 Yazidis live in villages in Iraqi Kurdistan region and in Kurdish areas outside Kurdistan in around Mosul in Nineveh province, with additional communities in Transcaucasia, Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, and Syria. Additional Yazidi communities located in Germany.
There are almost 1.5 million Yazidis worldwide, half a million of whom live in Iraq.