Call for an immediate halt to the closure of the Yazidi NGO, Yazda, in Kurdistan / Northern Iraq
On Monday, 2 January, 2017, armed Kurdish security forces in the provincial capital of Dohuk (northern Iraq, autonomous region of Kurdistan) stormed the offices of the Yazidi relief organization, Yazda (see explanatory notes below), and forced the staff to vacate their premises. The buildings were sealed, and, as a result, Yazda had to stop all aid projects - in particular, the distribution of humanitarian supplies. Security forces arrived at the Yazda offices without prior notice, and, therefore, the closure could not be appealed before it happened.
Later, the director of the Kurdish security forces in Dohuk stated that he had not been aware of the operation. Nevertheless, the closure was executed, and has, since, been maintained. Both for Yazda's traumatized women (many of whom are former ISIS sex-slaves in recovery), and for those displaced people in the refugee camps now experiencing wintry conditions, the cessation of Yazda's aid programs equals a disaster because they are no longer receiving help.
After the forced closure of Yazda, Dr. Akram Jamo, the Director of the NGOs Directorate in the KRG - the office which provides a framework for the vetting and operation of NGOs in the KRG, said that Yazda's license to operate as an NGO in the KRG had expired. But, in fact, the organisation was able to prove that their license was actually renewed by Dr. Jamos on 28 November 2016. As proof Yazda published the renewed license agreement with Jamos' signature.
The accompanying petition is addressed to the representatives of the Kurdistan-Iraq Regional Government in their EU mission in Brussels (Mr Delavar Ajgeiy) and at their UK Representation in London (Mr Karwan Jamal Tahir), with the urgent request that the Regional Government of Kurdistan-Iraq allow Yazda to resume their work and the aid projects in the autonomous region of Kurdistan.
By signing the petition, a petition email will be sent to the designated representatives on your behalf.
Brief explanatory information about the Yazidi People and the NGO called Yazda:
The Yazidis are an indigenous people whose homeland is, today, divided into four different countries: Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq. Since the Yazidis are classified by Islam as "devil worshipers", they have been persecuted and oppressed for centuries. As a result, their numbers have been steadily declining due to abductions, murders and forced Islamisation.
The latest genocide of the Yazidis occurred in Autumn, 2014 by the advancing terrorists of ISIS. In addition to the expulsion from their settlements on the Nineveh Plain, the Sinjar Region (one of the main settlements of the Yazidis in Northern Iraq) suffered systematic mass killing and the enslavement of thousands of Yazidi women. Still, today, several thousand Yazidi women are imprisoned and abused as sex-slaves.
Through the courage of Nadia Murad, who was herself the subject of this enslavement before she was liberated, the world community has learned of this genocide. Nadia Murad was appointed by the United Nations in September, 2016 as the first "special messenger for the dignity of the victims of trafficking in human beings".
The international NGO, Yazda, has worked for the recognition of the genocide on the Yazidis, and coordinated humanitarian aid for tens of thousands of Yazidis who were expelled from Iraq by ISIS. Yazda was founded in 2014, after the genocide of Sinjar, by YAZIDI activists in the USA. The organization is now active worldwide and the largest Yazidi relief organization. Yazda has gained international recognition for the work it has accomplished.
Yazda is mainly active in regions of Northern Iraq, where their projects are carried out. These projects include:
- Work with traumatized women who have been liberated from captivity, and who need help to recover;
- Humanitarian aid to thousands of Yazidis, organised during the Winter, under the most difficult conditions, outside of the typical refugee camps;
- Resettlement of traumatized ISIS victims;
- Documenting the Yazidi Genocide, as committed by ISIS.
In addition, Yazda insists that the expelled Yazidis can return to their home areas in the Sinjar region.
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Calls For An Immediate Halt To Closure Plans For The Yazidi-NGO Yazda in Kurdistan/Northern Iraq