Peace in Kurdistan: 3 August must be recognized as day of action
Peace in Kurdistan urges the UK Government to show support for the self-organisation of Yazidi women and for the freedom of the kidnapped, enslaved and justice for the murdered women of Sinjar.
By 3 August 2020, 73 women’s organisations from across different continents will have declared 3 August as the international day for struggle against femicide in 2016.
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign wrote an open letter to Dominic Raab MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Lisa Nandy MP on the sixth anniversary of ISIS genocide perpetrated by ISIS against the Yazidi people in Shengal on 3 August 2014. The campaign calls for 3 August to be recognized as “International Day of Action Against Femicide and Genocide”.
The statement released by the campaign reads as follows:
The 3 August 2020 marks the sixth anniversary of the day in 2014 when ISIS attacked and massacred the Yazidi community in Sinjar, Iraq, systematically targeting women and girls who were killed, raped and enslaved in their thousands. This atrocity amounted to femicide, a femicide which continues to this day as thousands of these women remain held captive across Iraq, Syria and the Arabian Gulf after having been sold into slavery.
The United Nations has officially designated what happened in Sinjar as a genocide. For the Yezidis this was the 74th Genocide that they have endured during their history and one which was perpetrated by targeting women, which makes it constitute femicide. The Yazidi people face the bitter reality that their existence, their beliefs and their freedom can only be secured through self-determination, self-organization and self-protection. Women especially hold the vital role in this process of self-organization in response to genocide and femicide. They have thrown off their victimhood and will now determine and take control of their fate organized as the Free Yazidi Women’s Movement (TAJÊ) in Sinjar and in Europe.
The Yazidi women who were rescued from the grasp of ISIS, women who had already endured all the horrors of war and forced migration are not permitted to speak in their mother tongue and practice their faith in the countries they are taken to, which is subjecting them to layers of violence, denial of their culture and customs and immense psychological damage, amounting to a cultural genocide.
A crime against humanity was committed against the women and men who were killed or forced to migrate from Shingal and this crime demands full investigation, trial and punishment of those responsible.
In Afrin the paramilitary group Sultan Murat Brigade continues to systematically abduct, rape and murder young indigenous women. Most recently the tortured corpse of 16-year old Melek Nebîh Xelîl was found; she was abducted from the Derwish village of Afrin. There are 70 additional women who were abducted. These atrocities attest to the fact that crimes against humanity in Syria continue.
In similar cases where crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in countries such as Rwanda and Yugoslavia, ad hoc courts were established and trials held to punish the international crimes committed in these countries.
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic was established on 22 August 2011 by the Human Rights Council through resolution S-17 /1. The mandate of the Commission is to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law since March 2011 in the Syrian Arab Republic. The Human Rights Council also tasked the Commission with establishing the facts and circumstances that may amount to such violations and of the crimes perpetrated and, where possible, to identify those responsible with a view of ensuring that perpetrators of violations, including those that may constitute crimes against humanity, are held accountable. The Human Rights Council has repeatedly extended the Commission's mandate since then, most recently until 31 March 2021. It is beholden on the UN to ensure that the crimes against the Yezidi that occurred within Syria are fully investigated, tried and the perpetrators punished within this due process. For crimes that occurred in Iraq and elsewhere there is a fundamental need for investigation and a process of accountability to be held in the International Criminal Law system.
By 3 August 2020, 73 women’s organisations from across different continents will have declared 3 August as the international day for struggle against femicide in 2016. Peace in Kurdistan urges the UK Government to join in this call and raise your voice on behalf of the British people in support of this initiative and show support for the self-organisation of Yezidi women and for the freedom of the kidnapped, enslaved and justice for the murdered women of Sinjar.
We await your response.
Peace in Kurdistan
Patrons: John Austin, Baroness Blower of Starch Green, former GS NUT, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Jill Evans, former MEP, Desmond Fernandes, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Christopher Gingell, Prof Dr. Michael Gunter, Secretary-General, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), Rahila Gupta, Nick Hildyard, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert, former MEP, Elfyn Llwyd, Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, David Morgan, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Ali Gul Ozbek, Former Councillor and Mayor of Haringey; Gareth Peirce, Dr Felix Padel, Maxine Peake, actor, Trevor Rayne, writer, Lord Rea, Joe Ryan, Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Stephen Smellie, PIK Trade Union Liaison Officer, Jonathan Steele, Steve Sweeney, Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary Permanent People’s Tribunal, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward, former MEP, Kariane Westrheim, Chair, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Hywel Williams MP.