9th Anniversary of the genocide: Women’s conference in Sulaymaniyah calls for the recognition of the genocide in Shengal

The women’s conference in Sulaymaniyah called for international recognition of the Yazidi genocide in Shengal.

The Free Yazidi Women’s Movement (TAJÊ) organized a conference in Sulaymaniyah on the occasion of the 9th anniversary of the ISIS genocide in Shengal (Sinjar), which began on 3 August 2014. The conference held in the conference hall of a hotel in Sulaymaniyah under the motto “Joint struggle of united women is a guarantee to stop massacres” was attended by women from the Yazidi, Kakai, Zoroastrian, Fayli and Christian faith groups .

The participants also included representatives of several institutions in Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Halabja, Ranya and other cities of South Kurdistan (North Iraq).The topics of discussion included massacres and policies against faith groups and beliefs, as well as the role of women in the protection of culture, language and faith, and the importance of women’s joint struggle.

The final declaration of the conference defined the recognition of the ISIS atrocities as genocide as an important step and called on the states that have recognized the genocide to bring those responsible for the mass slaughter to account.

The final declaration noted that Iraq has yet to recognize the 3 August onslaught as a genocide, stating: “As women, we have difficulty in understanding it, and we believe that the parliament of Iraq should call and recognize the atrocities as a genocide. Iraq is home to a wide range of beliefs, cultures and ethnic identities, thanks to which it has an ancient and rich culture. To our regret, these diversities, which form the basis of a democratic life, are used by the governments to pit societies against one another and make them fight each other. The minorities in particular are subjected to constant attacks and left to be exterminated. The Kakai, Fayli, Zoroastrian, Christian, Shia, Kurdish, Syriac and Arab communities have been exposed to genocidal attacks throughout history. Even today, the dirty politics pursued by the government give prominence to religion and nationalism and the cultural richness of Iraq is annihilated. As women, we consider it our most important duty to lead the struggle for democratization in order for a peaceful co-existence of all colors, voices, cultures, religions and beliefs.”

Remarking that the first genocide of the 21st century took place in Shengal on 3 August 2014 before the very eyes of the whole world, the declaration said: “We once again denounce these attacks that take their source from racism, fundamentalism and sexism. As long as the aftermath of the Yazidi women still in ISIS captivity is not revealed and the wounds of women, children and people of Shengal are not healed, this suffering will remain a black mark against humanity (…). We, women, believe that we can achieve freedom, peace and democracy for our country and society by organizing ourselves with free will. We regard the self-defense and self-government rights of the Shengal people, who were exposed to a genocide, as legitimate and we call on the international community to support the self-defense and self-government of the Shengal people. We express our disapproval of the agreement concluded between the KDP and the Iraqi government on 9 October 2013 which does not recognize the will of the Yazidi people. We want this wrong decision to be reversed immediately. If a solution is to be developed in Shengal, it could only be possible by recognizing the will of Shengal. We invite international institutions and organizations to fulfil their responsibilities regarding the crimes against humanity that were perpetrated in Shengal. We especially expect Iraq to formally recognize the atrocities committed in Shengal as a genocide and to prevent the ongoing attacks by the Turkish state. We ask it to close the Iraqi airspace to the Turkish state to avoid further losses.

This genocide is yet to be recognized as a war crime by international law. We disapprove of this failure and we ask all the international institutions and organizations, especially the UN, to define the onslaught against women in Shengal as both a war crime and a crime against humanity. As the participants of this conference, we salute the resistance of our Afghan sisters against the Taliban regime. We appreciate their resistance against the regime that is hostile to humanity and women, and we express all the women who are resisting in Afghanistan.

We call on all women around the world to call those responsible for the genocide of women in Shengal to account.”

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