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Five Years After Daesh Unleashed Genocide In Iraq: Survivors Are Still Waiting For Security

Five Years After Daesh Unleashed Genocide In Iraq: Survivors Are Still Waiting For Security

2019/08/14 | 11:00

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)- Five years after Daesh unleashed genocide in Iraq, survivors are still waiting for the security and safety that is crucial to guarantee their survival and future in the region where they have been targeted for annihilation. Because the issue of safety and security has been largely neglected, Nadia Murad has made it a significant focus of her five point-action plan on helping the targeted by Daesh communities, presented at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in DC in July 2019.







Members of the Yazidi minority search for clues on February 3, 2015, that might lead them to missing relatives in the remains of people killed by Daesh, a day after Kurdish forces discovered a mass grave near the Iraqi village of Sinuni, in the northwestern Sinjar area. (Photo credit: SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

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First, as emphasized by Nadia, the conflict over local governance in Shingle and other disputed areas (between Iraq and Kurdistan) must be resolved. As Nadia has pointed out, “Without a solution between them, Yazidis will continue to be the victims of their conflict.” This is very clear from the increased level of hostilities following the independence referendum in Kurdistan. Indeed, after the referendum, the conflict escalated to the point that religious minorities had to flee from a town in Nineveh Plains, Teleskof, out of fear of being injured or worse. A number of civilians were injured. As long as the dispute over the territories continues, people living in these areas will risk finding themselves in the middle of the conflict between Iraq and Kurdistan, the dangers of which must not be underestimated.

Second, and independently from the point above, Baghdad and Erbil must better integrate religious minorities into their Security Forces. “These efforts will enable religious minorities to have a hand in their own security and also prevent future genocidal efforts.” This is critical when considering how Yazidis were left alone and unprotected before Daesh attacked. In August 2014, the Peshmerga were the only security force in the region. They maintained bases and checkpoints throughout Sinjar and had been defending the area for many months, if not years. However, as Daesh attacked Sinjar, the Peshmerga allegedly did not protect the Yazidis. In its report ‘They came to destroy’, the International Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syria Arab Republic (IICoISAR), described the abandonment by the Peshmerga fighters as follows:





As they moved into Sinjar, Daesh fighters faced little or no resistance. Many of the Peshmerga reportedly withdrew in the face of the Daesh advance, leaving much of the Sinjar region defenceless. The decision to withdraw was not effectively communicated to the local population. No evacuation orders were issued and most villages were initially unaware of the collapse of the security situation.”



As word spread that the Peshmerga had left their checkpoints, a few ad hoc groups of lightly armed, local Yazidi men mounted a very limited defense of some villages, such as Girzerik and Siba Sheikh Khedir, in an attempt to give their families and neighbors more time to escape. By daybreak, Yazidi families from hundreds of villages across Sinjar were fleeing their homes in fear and panic. They took little with them. Others were advised by Arab neighbors to stay in the villages and raise white flags over their houses.”



Other reports indicate that the Peshmerga removed most of the Yazidi weapons, promising to protect them from the threat posed by Daesh. Some reports even suggest that they prevented the Yazidis from leaving Sinjar. It is essential that these reports and accusations are investigated.

Integrating religious minorities into Baghdad and Erbil’s Security Forces could effectively address the issue. These Security Forces would then not be defending just “others” but their own.

Without effectively dealing with the above-discussed issues, the communities targeted by Daesh for annihilation will continue to live in fear or even leave the area in pursuit of safety. Ultimately, the decision of whether to leave or stay is up to each person individually. However, without an adequate safety and security network in the area, religious minorities that have just faced annihilation from the hand of Daesh fighters will never be given a true option to stay in the land of their ancestors and will be indirectly forced to leave.







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