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Nadia Murad announces visit for reopening of main Duhok-Shingal road

By Rudaw 14/12/2018
In a video statement obtained by Rudaw on December 13, 2018, Nadia Murad announces the main Shingal-Duhok road will reopen and she will visit the Yezidi homeland on December 14.
In a video statement obtained by Rudaw on December 13, 2018, Nadia Murad announces the main Shingal-Duhok road will reopen and she will visit the Yezidi homeland on December 14.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Nadia Murad, the human rights’ activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, announced the primary road from Duhok to Shingal will be reopened when she will visit the Yezidi homeland; however, only Murad was allowed to pass through the southern Iraqi-manned checkpoints on Friday.

"Tomorrow, we together, through the Sihela Road, will go to Shingal. The road has been opened for us," Murad announced in a video statement on Thursday.

This was a "good step" and it should have been sooner, she added. She held meetings with top officials in Baghdad and Erbil on Wednesday and Thursday.

"I am very thankful that results showed up soon following my meetings with the two sides," she added, saying they will go to celebrate their feast, their victory, and the message of humanity and peace they have conveyed to the world.

The Yezidis’ Three Day Fast (Roji) and the Feast (Eda Rojiet Ezi) culminate on Friday.

Murad, since receiving the Noble Peace Prize this week, has returned to the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. On Wednesday, she met in Baghdad with Iraqi PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi, Speaker of Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi, and President Barham Salih.

On Thursday in Erbil, she met with Kurdistan Regional Government PM Nechirvan Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Region Security Council Masrour Barzani, Deputy PM Qubad Talabani, and a parliamentary delegation led by Hemin Hawrami.

She revealed they discussed several issues, most notably the reopening of the road and justice for Yezidis.

The Sihela road, connecting Duhok to Shingal and Rabiya, was closed following the federal takeover of all disputed areas in October 2017.

The closing has created much trouble for Yezidis in particular, as about half of their population is sheltered in camps or with the host community in Duhok province, including some of Murad’s immediate family members. 

The closure increases the drive to hospitals and other important infrastructure into the Kurdistan Region by more than three hours. It also hinders humanitarian access to Yezidis remaining in Shingal where many NGOs have recently begun stabilization and reconstruction efforts. 

Murad, 25, is a UN Goodwill Ambassador. She has been an outspoken activist after being captured by ISIS and the escaping in 2014. On Monday, she was bestowed the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.


Rudaw's correspondent in Shingal reported on Friday morning that only Murad was allowed into Shingal and that many Yezidis have been stopped from entering Shingal via the Sihela road

Both Hashd al-Shaabi and Peshmerga commanders say they have not reached an agreement.


This is Murad's second return to Shingal since 2014. In June 2017, Murad visited her home village of Kocho under tight security facilitated by Peshmerga, Hashd al-Shaabi and the Iraqi Army and Federal Police. For that visit, the Peshmerga bulldozed an embankment just north of Kocho to allow Murad's convoy to pass. It was then closed when she left. 

Nechirvan Barzani wished Yezidis a “blissful feast” while hoping more can be done to facilitate a safe return for Yezidis to their homeland. 

“We warmly congratulate our dear Yezidi brothers and sisters in Kurdistan and anywhere in the world on the occasion of Yezidi Fasting Feast. I hope that it will be a calm and blissful feast," the KRG PM said in a statement on Friday. 

He lamented that the feast was at a time when many Yezidis are still missing and many more are living in camps.

"I hope in coming feasts, all can successfully return to a stable and revitalized homeland, and the Kurdistan Regional Government will do its best for that," added the PM. 

He assured Yezidis that the KRG won't stop trying to rescue Yezidis until each is rescued.


Mohammed al-Halbousi, the speaker of the Iraqi parliament, visits Yezidis in Sheikhan on December 14, 2018. Photo: Rudaw TV

Halbousi visited Sheikhan in Duhok province.


"Today, we had the honor of visiting the Sheikhan district and the Lalish temple, accompanied by some female and male MPs, to congratulate the children of our nation, our brothers, the Yezidis, on the occasion of the Fasting Feast," Halbousi told reporters. 

He expressed Iraq’s "solidarity" with Yezidis.

“We reiterate that they are an inseparable part of the Iraqi people,” he said.

Iraqis are known to "stand up" again after tragedies, he asserted.

"This put the responsibility of providing the necessities of a dignified life, for our Yezidi sons, people and brothers," he added. 

Halbousi said he and his fellow MPs can work on compensating the Yezidis and providing them with a good life by creating job opportunities, facilitating the return of IDPs, and reinstating security. 

He promised to work with the KRG that has helped the IDPs, an issue he says can be addressed through the budget in the Iraqi parliament.


Update: 3:14 p.m.

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