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Rudaw

Kurdistan

New top-line camp opens for Yezidi refugees

By Alexander Whitcomb 3/2/2015
Balloons and bunting celebrate the opening of the new camp. Photo by author.
Balloons and bunting celebrate the opening of the new camp. Photo by author.

QADIYA, Kurdistan Region – Twenty-four thousand people fleeing Islamic State (ISIS) violence are being moved into a new camp near the Kurdistan Region’s northern city of Dohuk.

What sets this camp apart, aside from its stunning views from the side of a mountain, is that it has been designed to go beyond the basic needs of its inhabitants. While the camp isn’t completely finished, in the next months it will boast several parks, a library, schools, a medical center, an Internet center and basketball courts. 

“The objective we have is not just to provide shelter, but to offer a community environment to alleviate their suffering and reignite their hopes,” said Zirak Hamad, a representative of the Kurdish-aid group Rwanga, which built and manages the camp. “We want to transform their lives of hardship into one that they can enjoy.” 

The majority of camp residents are members of the minority Yezidi religious sect from the Shingal (Sinjar) region to the west.  Islamic State (ISIS) fighters began massacres of Yezidis in August, trapping thousands on a mountain for months and forcing a mass exodus of most of the 340,000 Yezidis in the area. 

Rwanga estimates that half of the camp’s women have escaped from ISIS control. 

“It’s been six months since we were forced to leave our homes, since we experienced genocide,” said Hadi Jabree Ali, speaking on behalf of the Shingal community in the camp.

“Daesh targeted us just for being Kurdish or Yezidi,” he added, using the pejorative A Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “Their sole aim is to destroy us. Because of this we have lost our women, children, many of whom are now sold as slaves in markets.” 

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) pledged it will investigate ISIS crimes and pave the way for international criminal proceedings. 

“A committee has been established to see if these crimes are considered to be genocide,” KRG spokesman Safeen Dizayee told a group of Yezidis at the camp on Monday. “If it is, the perpetrators will be brought to court.”

The UN Refugee Agency estimates that 330,000 internally displaced people in Iraq still live in substandard shelters that fail to protect inhabitants from harsh winter conditions, particularly tough in the northern Kurdistan Region. 

The Qadiya camp is not designed to be a permanent village. Several people will squeeze into three by five meter rooms to sleep. But pre-fabricated cabins will do better than tents to keep out the cold, and residents have been provided flat-screen TVs and three pairs new shoes in each bedroom. 

“We are very happy to see this model, and hope it will alleviate the sufferings of residents,” said Mr. Dizayee. 

“We ask private individuals and companies to continue their efforts to help internally displaced persons,” he added, as the KRG is struggling to cope with an influx of 900,000 people from other parts of Iraq in the midst of a budget and security crisis. 

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Kurdish God | 3/2/2015
Welcome to Boxistan in Kurdistan. This is how we treat you dear Yezidis. We know that you are the only remaining Kurdish minorities that refused to convert to Islam. That’s why we the house of Saud love you and came after you after we got our blessing from our Masters America and Israel using our old friends the CIA Baathist party and all the criminals around the word to take care of you, to rape, kill, murder your and make you refuges for ever and live like chickens in small boxes for the rest of your lives. Aren’t we nice? Remember we are also going to open a school for you so that you learn both Talmud and Quran. Don’t worry dear Yezidis as soon as you learned Talmud then Quran is the same. It’s just a copy paste of the same beautiful hate literature. We hope you guys behave until we brainwash you just like all the other Muslims Kurds who now on our side. Signed by House of Saud the brother of the Zionists and white European American Angels who destroyed Native culture. Oh and we remembered something Netting Yahoo told us to tell you that you cannot drive cars because of safety concerns of MOSSAD. Sorry for the inconvenience :)
Hersh | 3/2/2015
I'm glad that they gave the Ezidi's priority to this new camp, at the same time it's heart breaking to see other refugees will be spending the winter in tents, I wish we had the recourse to put all the refugees in facilities like this.
Yezidi are kurds | 3/2/2015
long live the most pure form of kurds. The ones who kept their traditions. I am ashamed to have been born into a muslim family. And still you still have idiots like yezidi-man who says yezidis are not kurds while they are the true kurds. Enemys of kurdistan: 1un-united 2corrupt leaders 3islam Those are the problems whe need to tackle. Isis is a joke. A proxy a temporary enemy send by our true enemys.
Xemgin Tiro | 4/2/2015
Why do rudaw journalists humiliate Kurds with the news like draging bodies of death. As long as Kurds downgrade their prestige by showing their mistakes to the world for no reason, they will be sisi girls of their neighbours. Congratulations Kurdish monkey factory news agencies like this one.
ahmad | 4/2/2015
We Kurd s in the original faith and our religion Zoroastrianism . But after smashing the Median Empire, which was established by the Kurd s at the hands of the Persian Empire, the dispersion of the Kurdish nation and came under Ottoman and Persian occupation, and since that time the bulk of the Kurd s became Muslim. The Kurd s are yezids native and true who did not change them religion and became a Muslim.
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