Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH
Rt Hon Lisa Nandy MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
16 March 2021
OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE YAZIDI COMMUNITY OF SHINGAL
Dear Foreign Secretary
We are deeply concerned by news that the government of Iraq and the KDP are demanding that local security forces, the Ezidxan Asayish (EA), leave Sinjar. The EA has been developed in response to the needs and political will of the Yazidi population and has in recent times been recognized by the Iraqi federal authorities.
The demand that EA leaves Sinjar follows the 9 October 2020 “Sinjar Agreement” between the Iraqi government and the KDP under the purview of United Nations representatives and with the support of Turkey and the United States. The “Sinjar Agreement” was signed by the Iraqi government and KDP without any consultation with the Yazidi people. Since the announcement of this agreement, Sinjar has seen popular protests rejecting its terms and showing solidarity with the EA.
The background to this dispute, as you will be aware, is that the Yazidi people have been persecuted for centuries. The most recent genocide of the Yazidis began in August 2014, when the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) invaded Sinjar and surrounding areas, killing, kidnapping, and enslaving thousands of Yazidis and displacing hundreds of thousands. The Yazidi genocide, was invoked as a major motivation for international military intervention against ISIS, an effort that ultimately led to their defeat as a territory-holding entity in the region. However, years later, thousands of kidnapped Yazidis are still missing and Sinjar struggles to rebuild itself.
The Turkish state, which openly pursues a campaign of military expansionism and occupation in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, sees Sinjar as essential to the strategy of expanding its zones of occupation in the region and regaining control of the entirety of the former Ottoman province (vilayet) of Mosul, which comprises many provinces of present-day Iraq.
The Sinjar/Shengal Democratic Autonomous Council (Meclîsa Xweseriya Demokratîk a Şengalê, MXDŞ) has called for solutions to the region’s issues in accordance with the will of the peoples of Sinjar and stated, “We emphasize once again that we do not want war, but peace.”
Peace in Kurdistan believes that it is fundamental for the Iraqi government and the KDP to respect and recognize the will of the Yazidis and all of the peoples of Sinjar and assist them with rebuilding their society and ensuring that they can control their own security rather than persecuting them as they struggle to recover from the most recent genocide.
We also call upon the UK government, the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, and world human rights organisations to work to protect the Yazidis from future massacres, assist with the reconstruction of Sinjar, and reject political and military steps taken in Sinjar that are contrary to the will of the peoples of the region.
Peace in Kurdistan on behalf of Patrons:
John Austin, Baroness Blower of Starch Green, former GS NUT, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Jill Evans, former MEP, Desmond Fernandes, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Christopher Gingell, Prof Dr. Michael Gunter, Secretary-General, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), Rahila Gupta, journalist, Nick Hildyard, policy advisor, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert, former MEP, Dr Les Levidow, Open University, Elfyn Llwyd, John McDonnell MP; Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, David Morgan, journalist, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Ali Gul Ozbek, Former Councillor and Mayor of Haringey; Gareth Peirce, Dr Felix Padel, Maxine Peake, actor, Dr Thomas Phillips, Liverpool John Moores University, Trevor Rayne, writer, Joe Ryan, Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Stephen Smellie, PIK Trade Union Liaison Officer, Jonathan Steele, journalist, Steve Sweeney, journalist, Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary Permanent People’s Tribunal, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Federico Venturini, Associate Researcher, University of Udine, Italy; Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward, former MEP, Kariane Westrheim, Chair, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Hywel Williams MP.
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
44 Ainger Road, London NW3 3AT
Contacts Estella Schmid: 07846 666 804 & Melanie Gingell: 07572 430903