Yazidis in northern Iraq live a life of constant terror
It was seven years ago last Tuesday when more than 3,000 Yazidis were executed in a single day by Islamic State fighters in and around the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar. Among the atrocities that were considered genocide were families that had been slaughtered, children recruited, more than 7,000 people enslaved, and nearly half a million forced into refugee camps. Survivors in the village of Hardan, near Sinjar, still remember the horrors of their experience. Now, at an online conference organised by the Free Yezidi Foundation, many of them have spoken of the tragedies they suffered. Among the speakers at the international event was Tristan Azbej, the Hungarian government's Minister of State for the Assistance to Persecuted Christians and the person responsible for implementing the Hungary Helps Programme.
At the event, according to a report published by the Hungarian daily newspaper ‘Magyar Nemzet‘, one survivor said that more than seventy mass graves had been uncovered in the region since the massacres.
“We just wanted security and acceptance in our country, but the Islamic State took everything and everyone they could. Young boys were conscripted as soldiers.”
He described surviving the massacre in Hardan village in tears, adding that he still fears another genocide will happen.
Experts believe that although the Islamic State terrorist organisation perpetrated the massacre of Yazidis, the root causes of the horrific events – such as discrimination and hatred – are still present in Iraq today.
One solution would be to return home.
The Hungarian government also supports Yazidis through the Hungary Helps Programme. The programme has helped to build a bakery in the Khanke refugee camp, which will provide a livelihood, vocational training and a future for the Yazidis living there, according to a Facebook post by Azbej Tristan. He also visited a refugee camp for Yazidi refugees in northern Iraq and Khanke, where some 14,000 Yazidis live in white tents for the seventh year running.
“We need to care more about people’s lives. Thousands of Yazidi women and children have experienced traumatic events,”
said the State Secretary referring to the need for rehabilitation for the masses of Yazidis.
Everyday life in a refugee camp is very miserable,” added Azbej Tristan, who said that
the real solution for Yazidis is not to establish and maintain refugee camps but to return to their homes.
This is a problem because community members remain afraid to return to the Sinjar Mountains in northern Iraq, despite an agreement between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Region in October 2020. One of the main tasks was to restore security, but this has not happened to date: the area of Sinjar and its surroundings continues to be plagued by gunfire from Iraqi, Kurdish and Turkish troops.
In our featured image, Yazidi woman with her child (Source: Thebaghdadpost.com)