Yezidi women baking bread on Mount Shingal.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—On the third anniversary of the massacre of the Kurdish Yezidi community by ISIS, activists and human rights organizations say that the group still carries out acts of violence against minority groups in Iraq and Syria and urges the international community to hold members of the extremist militants accountable for their crimes.
“We call upon the Iraqi Government and the international community to work together to bring to justice members of ISIS who have perpetrated international crimes. The UN Security Council should immediately establish an international investigative commission to collect, preserve and analyse evidence of ISIS’s atrocities in Iraq.” reads a joint statement from four organizations among them Yazda.
“In order to defeat ISIS, and to counter violent extremism wherever it manifests itself, the international community must show that it will not allow the perpetrators of the genocide against the Yazidis to escape punishment.” the statement goes on to say.
ISIS militants invaded the Yezidi region of Shingal on August 3, 2014, killing hundreds on the spot and taking thousands of others, mainly women and young girls captive.
“Tragically, ISIS’s genocidal campaign against the Yazidis continues to this day,” Yazda, Chime for Change, Gobal Citizen and Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect say in their joint statement.
Citing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, they say that over 1,600 abducted women and girls and 1,700 men and boys remain unaccounted for. Many mass graves have been discovered since ISIS was routed from the Shingal region in 2015, at least 44 of them within the vicinities of the town.
“It is shameful that three years after the genocide began, no ISIS member has been held to account for it in a court of law. I look forward to the day that Yazidis and other victims of ISIS can face their abusers in a court in The Hague." Amal Clooney, legal counsel for Yazda and Yazidi survivors, said.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has financed the release and rescue of hundreds of Yezidis from their captors in Syria and Iraq in the last three years.
The group of NGOs say that removing ISIS from Mosul is a major step in the fight against the group, but not enough.
“ISIS members must also be held accountable for their crimes and a comprehensive reconciliation strategy must be established in consultation with all affected communities to ensure that the cycle of violence, discrimination and oppression against my people, the Yazidis, and other minorities in Iraq is broken.” warns Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad.