UN delegation visits Shengal

A delegation led by Zohra Tabouri, coordinator at the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, has been in Shengal for talks with the Yazidi self-government.

A delegation led by Zohra Tabouri, head of office and security coordinator of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) for the Nineveh region, visited the Yazidi settlement area of Shengal (Sinjar) on Thursday. During talks with representatives of the Shengal Autonomous Council (MXDŞ) and the Yazidi Women's Freedom Movement (TAJÊ), regional political developments since the so-called Shengal Accord were discussed. The agreement, signed in October under UN supervision following pressure from the United States and Turkey, provides for Baghdad and Hewlêr (Erbil) to be entrusted with all administrative, political and security responsibilities. The Yazidi community, over whose head the agreement was reached, has no say in the matter. Against this backdrop, the Yazidis in Shengal refuse to give up the structures of self-government and self-defense they built up after the ISIS genocide of 2014.

Faris Herbo, the foreign affairs officer of the Shengal Autonomous Administration, told ANF that the talks were held at the initiative of UNAMI. "Our stance against the alliance of the Turkish state, the Iraqi central government and the KDP leadership is clear. We strongly reject the October agreement. We have informed the delegation that the calm atmosphere in Shengal has been massively disturbed by the agreement. There are serious security problems here that did not exist before the agreement. Now and then, one can even speak of chaotic conditions."

The people of Shengal do not see any gain for the ancestral residents in the agreement, Herbo said and added, "It is not an agreement that could benefit the people here. It's solely about the interests of the forces behind this agreement."

Herbo criticized the fact that nearly seven years after ISIS began its attempted genocide of the Yazidis, there continues to be little significant support at the state level for the return of displaced families, few jobs are being created, and university graduates from Shengal have no opportunity or prospects for a self-determined life. "If these problems are already met with disinterest and there continue to be no programs, what purpose does the Shengal Agreement serve at all?"

The focus of the conversation between the Yazidi Women's Freedom Movement and Zohra Tabouri was the situation of women and their problems, according to TAJÊ activist Neam Bedel. "We presented the UN delegation with a number of proposed solutions to problems specific to women in Shengal. One important point we talked about was the organization of women who have been abducted and survived death. It was also about the activities to liberate Yazidi women who are still in captivity," Bedel explained.

She added that the TAJÊ had appealed to UNAMI for support for the safe return of the Yazidi IDP in camps in the South Kurdistan Autonomous Region and in the Autonomous Region of North and East Syria. "Since the agreement between Baghdad, Ankara and Hewlêr, the way for return is de facto closed," Bedel said. She added that Zohra Tabouri had given assurances that she would bring the problems discussed to the attention of the United Nations and the Iraqi government and work to find a solution.