Posted on October 26, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Yazidis
Canada’s parliament. Photo: Courtesy/ The parliament of Canada/parl.gc.ca
OTTAWA,— Canada’s parliament adopted Tuesday an opposition motion to resettle Kurdish Yazidi refugees within four months, while declaring ISIS’ persecution of Yazidis near the Syrian border in northern Iraq a genocide.
Iraqi activist Nadia Murad was on hand for the unanimous vote in the House of Commons.
The government said it is still sorting out a plan for the airlift and does not yet know how many Yazidi refugees Canada will take in over the 120-day period.
But Immigration Minister John McCallum reminded that Canada had managed to resettle more than 25,000 Syrian refugees in just a few months at the start of the year.
“It is important to emphasize that Canada will always be an open country willing to step up and support people in need from all around the world,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in the Commons.
“I am pleased to see Nadia (Murad) again today and reassure her that in the coming months we are committed to bringing in vulnerable Yazidi refugees,” he said.
Murad was taken by ISIS from her home village of Kocho near Iraq’s northern town of Sinjar in August 2014 and brought to the city of Mosul.
Among the first things ISIS forced on her was to disavow her Yazidi faith, an ancient religion with more than half a million adherents in Iraq.
As a captive of the reviled extremist group, Murad, who today is 23, said she was tortured and raped for three months until she managed to escape and flee to Germany.
Since then, she has become a human rights activist, bringing the plight of the Yazidi community, especially the forced sexual enslavement and human trafficking of women and children captured by ISIS to the forefront of international attention.
Speaking in Ottawa through an interpreter, Murad said: “I would like to tell every single member of parliament that when they were standing I felt at that very critical moment ISIS was losing something, because ISIS never thought their slaves would one day come out and speak against them.”
Tory MP Michelle Rempel, who brought the asylum motion for a vote, also called for safe zones to be established in Iraq for persecuted minorities such as the Yazidis.
“Canada stands with Nadia and her people,” she said.
Islamic State group has captured most parts of the Yazidi Sinjar district in northwest Iraq on August 3, 2014 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.
According to Human Rights organizations, thousands of Yazidi Kurdish women and girls have been forced to marry or been sold into sexual slavery by the IS jihadists.
A Yazidi member of Iraqi parliament Vian Dakhil, said in August that 3,770 Kurdish Yazidi women and children still in Islamic State captivity.