Farhad al-Kake, an instructor at the International University of Erbil, has little faith in the international community to assist the Kakais because he said little is known about the Kakai people, although there have been recent efforts to change that.
Christians have more hope for the Western nations and international organizations to do something because of Christianity’s international popularity as one of the major three monotheistic religions.
"The genocide against the Christians committed by ISIS must be recognized internationally," Nawzad Hakim said.
Christians from the Nineveh province in Iraq have said that they don’t feel that the international community recognizes the history of Christians in the region, despite their historical presence.
"During the First World War, the mass deportation and massacres of the Armenians resulted also in the general persecution of other Christians and their evacuation from Kurdistan," Martin Van Bruinessen wrote in 1978 in his monumental study of the Kurdistani people 'Agha, Shaikh, and State.'
“Diyarbakir, Bitlis, Van, Erbil, Mosul, Sanandaj and many minor towns were centres of craftsmanship and trade."
Who do they trust to facilitate the returns to their homelands?
Prior to ISIS there were about 400,000 Christians in Iraq. Now there are about 200,000 who are sheltered in the Kurdistan Region with about that many having sought refuge abroad.
For those who want to return to their homes there is a question of justice that they want answered. Baghdad lacks a strong central government, which in many countries would be expected to relocate the survivors of ISIS crimes to their homes.
The survivors have little trust in the central government to deliver justice for the minority groups in the Nineveh province.
"We know that nobody cares about the Shabak people and it always has been like that since the regime of Saddam Hussein," community representative, Mohammad Ibrahim Shabak said. “It will continue if we stayed under the central government's control."
While some Yezidis have been accepted into specific immigration programs in Germany, Canada, and Australia, permanent displacement for others is not acceptable.
“Yes, we will preserve our culture, but it will not be the same. We will lose our language. We will lose our traditions when far away from the burial grounds and pilgrimage sites," wrote Dawud Khetari, a Yazidi historian from the Sheikhan region, in a University College London publication.
Safe zones or provisions for international protection, akin to Balkanization, for Yezidis and other minorities is another request by Yazda — something foreign diplomats don’t see as feasible.
Furthermore, security for the 300,000 Yezidis mostly in the Shingal region has been particularly unstable with various Kurdish armed factions clashing in March.
The people need a lot, safety and services, but firstly services, according to said General Amer Shamoun Mousa, commander of the Christian-led Nineveh Plains Guard Forces.
Psychological services, which government officials have acknowledged are lacking in the region, have been a major request of Yezidis, but it is also desired by Christians.
“We even need psychological services and assistance because people are people and have been displaced for such a long time,” Mousa said.
Justice for the survivors, accountability for those responsible
Yazda wants the establishment of “an accountability mechanism to hold ISIS criminals legally accountable for genocide and other crimes.”
The Kakais, who estimate their population in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region to be between 250,000 and 300,000, have said they were targeted for being a double-minority, so legal religious recognition is a desire for Kakais.
“There are two things. First we were attacked by Arabs because we are Kurds. And we are attacked by Muslims because we are not Muslims,” said al-Kake.
Now displaced, disputes are often settled through patriarchal or community-level representatives. Christians displaced into the Kurdistan Region, for example, have used a special court established after ISIS came in 2014. The judge is someone they trust.
One worker at such a court in Ainkawa said justice will come through our churches, we only trust our churches and bishop, no one else.
Baghdad with its current constitution and laws is repeating its pre-ISIS mistakes.
“Everything is a mess,” Mousa said, referring to the situation facing the Iraqi central government in Baghdad.
Given the region’s historical complexities and meddling, trust at all levels — local, provincial, federal and international — remains a hindrance to the process of return.
It is a barrier for Shabaks and Christians, as Christians feel areas like Bartella have been encroached upon by Shabaks, claiming they took advantage of the Christians' plight after ISIS as the Iraqi army and its Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary forces took control of lands once held by ISIS.
Mousa said return is possible for Christians and Shabaks “no problem,” Mousa said, adding Shabaks must respect the privacy of Christians, and the politicians must agree.
He did caution that if Shabaks want to expand, it will be difficult to rebuild the relationship.
Given the uncertainty of the future of these disputed areas claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil, displaced people say they still fear ISIS or what comes after ISIS, despite the group holding just 10 percent of the territory that it once held according to the Coalition.
“There is no single Christian left in the Christian areas who doesn’t fear ISIS’s killings,” Nawzad Hakim said.
There is unwillingness to return home until justice is served and the survivors of ISIS feel that they have rights.
“We need only our rights,” said Mousa.
And, rights, as described by displaced survivors equates to the ability and means to return to their homes knowing their voices will be heard and represented in governance.