Yazda has provided emergency aid, including psychological care, to Yazidi women and girls upon their rescue. Photo: Yazda
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region –Kurdish authorities in Erbil claim that the rights organization Yazda which was shut down on Monday had been involved in political activities which violated the law regulating NGO work in the Kurdistan Region, said a Kurdish official.
Dr. Dindar Zebari, head of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s High Committee to Evaluate and Respond to International Reports, told Rudaw English on Monday that the closure came after Yazda, an organization registered to advocate Yezidi rights, ignored a warning to abide by the rules of the Kurdistan Region regarding the work of NGOs.
Zebari added that Yazda had in some aspects overstepped the boundaries of NGO work.
In a statement on Monday Yazda said that security forces (Asayish) had shut down their Duhok office “for unknown reason,” and that “this includes all Yazda's humanitarian projects serving the Yazidi community.”
The director of Asayish in Duhok governorate, where Yazda office was closed, told Rudaw English Tuesday morning that he was not aware of the closure, but he did not deny it. He said he was away from the city and would be able to provide more details later.
Akram Jamo, director of the Kurdish Department of NGOs, told Rudaw English that he was not aware of a warning been given to Yazda before its closure, adding that it may have been issued by the local government in Duhok.
He added however that Yazda was involved in “political activities” which is outside the scope of NGOs, and that its license had expired.
Jamo did not say what type of political activities the organization had been involved in, claiming that the security forces it had found some of their work political.
Jamo explained that all NGOs have to renew their license every year and that his department shows flexibility for delays, Yazda however, he added, did not have any grounds for failing to renew its license on time.
Rudaw English tried multiple times but Yazda was not available for comments.
Yazda represents the UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad, the Yezidi girl who survived ISIS captivity after she lost many members of her family.
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Nadia Murad tweeted on Wednesday that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) should allow Yazda to reopen its Duhok offices.
“I call on the Kurdistan Regional Government to reopen Yazda’s vital work without any delay,” Murad wrote in a Tweet. “It’s a shame to close the organization that supports my campaign.”
Murad, who was kidnapped by ISIS in August of 2014, was named the first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations in September of 2016.
Yazda has provided emergency aid, including psychological care, to Yazidi women and girls upon their rescue. They also provide education and training to create opportunities for women and girls to build stable, self-sufficient futures.