REPAK, the Kurdish Women’s Relations Office based in Erbil, has published this statement on the one year anniversary of the IS attack on Sinjar/Shengal, which led to a horrific massacre in which thousands of Yezidi people were killed, thousands taken into sexual slavery and many more thousands were displaced. 

To the press and public

Exactly one year ago, gangs of the so-called Islamic State (IS) tried to carry out genocide in the Southern Kurdish (Northern Iraqi), mostly by Yazidis inhabited city Shingal/Sinjar. On 3 August 2014, IS aimed to occupy Shingal by massacres and ethnic cleansing in the villages around. According to numbers of the UN, due to the massacres that started on 3 August, 5 thousand Kurdish Yazidis got killed, 7 thousand girls and women got kidnapped like trophies, enslaved by IS gangs and sold in slavery markets. Even though some of the women were able to escape, a lot of women committed suicide for escaping from this atrocity. But still thousands of women remain in the hands of IS.

Also according to the reports of international official institutions, while the Kurdish Regional Government’s Peshmerga forces that were stationed in Shingal, faced with the attacks of IS withdrew from the region. The guerrilla forces of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and People’s Defence Units (YPG) fighters from Rojava were able to open a humanitarian corridor to Rojava and by doing so to rescue ten thousands of Yazidis from genocide.

With the attacks that started on 3 August 2014, the IS gangs did not only aim to occupy Shingal and include it to their so-called controlled area. At the same time, they intended a physical and cultural genocide against Yazidis and a feminicide against Yazidi women. The Yazidis that in history have been faced with 73 genocides are one of the most ancient religions in the Middle East. Over centuries they resisted against powers, which tried to seize control. Mount Shingal, which in the eyes of the Yazidis is holy, has always been a shelter. By destroying this shelter, which is one of the last Yazidi centres, the genocide process against this ancient religion should be completed.

First target of these massacres have been women. Because those who committed these massacres well know that women are the resultants of all cultural codes of the Yazidi culture. By attacking women, a whole society should be destroyed. The killing of Yazidi girls and women, rape, kidnapping, enslaving, forced change of religion are concrete expressions of feminicide.

The IS attacks against Yazidis for genocide and occupation of Shingal are still continuing. But the Yazidis were also able to develop their self-defence and self-organisation for taking their existence under guarantee and by doing so, resist against continuing attacks. Also the women in Shingal a few days ago organised their first conference and established the Shingal Yazidi Women’s Council. For overcoming the continuing IS-threat on the Yazidis, support for their efforts for self-defence and organisation must be supported.  Nobody should allow another exodus of the Yazidis.

In this context international forces, especially the German government, should not develop ‘rehabilitation’ projects for Yazidi women, which would break them away from their homeland. Instead they should support projects in place. Projects that break Yazidi women away from their families, their society and their land will not serve healing the deep wounds, but create new ones and deepen social and cultural degeneration.

For being able to prevent new massacres, it is needed to investigate the massacres in Shingal with all its dimensions and bring the responsible out into the open. Only with a true confrontation and investigation of the happening, new massacres can be prevented.

In this connection, we make following urgent demands:
·        The UN should recognize the physical and cultural genocide against the Yazidi society in Shingal by IS and take necessary action

·        The UN should recognize the massacres, rape, kidnapping, suicides, forced change of religion and enslaving by IS against Yazidi as feminicide and take necessary action

·        The massacres in Shingal should be investigated by an independent delegation and the responsible should be clarified and judged

·        The support for IS by states like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar should be investigated, the responsible judged by the International Criminal Court and these states should be sanctioned

·        Germany should abandon policies that break Yazidi women from their country and society away

·        International humanitarian organisations should support strengthening the self-help and self-organisation of the Yazidi society in Shingal

3 August 2015
Kurdish Women’s Relations Office

Kurdish Women’s Relation Office
رێکخراووی پەیوەندییەکانی ئافرەتانی کورد
Navenda Pêwendiyan a Jinên Kurd
منظمة المرأة الكردية للعلاقات
+964 (0) 750 197 06 44
Erbil – Northern Iraq