A Kurdish Peshmerga soldier holding a Kurdistan flag on Mount Shingal. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The upcoming referendum on Kurdistan independence will be an important opportunity for the Yezidi minority to make their voices heard and choose a direction they want their community to take, said the sole female Yezidi representative in the Iraqi parliament.
“This is a very important issue so that we will figure out which direction our people will choose,” Vian Dakhil, MP, told Rudaw.
She believes that the majority of Yezidis will vote to join the Kurdistan Region.
“Today we have to determine our fate by ourselves to be with the Kurdistan Region,” she said. “Here at least, the stability, safety, prosperity, and development that exists here can also be expanded to Shingal.”
The Kurdistan Region will hold a referendum on independence on September 25. The vote will also be held in Kurdistani areas, including Shingal and Kirkuk, regions considered part of Kurdistan by Erbil after they came under the Kurdish government’s control during the war against ISIS. Baghdad also claims these areas, which have been called disputed as defined by Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution.
Dakhil said that for Yezidis, after suffering genocide at the hands of ISIS and living through the “disaster” of being away from the Kurdistan Region under ISIS, “our stability and safety is here.”
Dakhil is a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by Kurdish President Masoud Barzani.
Many different armed groups are currently operating in the Shingal region, including Kurdistan Region Peshmerga and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and their allied Yezidi force the YBS. To the south of Shingal mountain, the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi are in control of Yezidi villages and have attracted many Yezidi fighters to their ranks.
Each force claims to be the true representative of the Yezidi people.