DUHOK, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – It is in the best interest of Yezidis (Ezidis) to participate in the independence referendum and become a part of an independent Kurdistan, an Ezidi official said on Sunday.
The Kurdistan Region scheduled a referendum on Sep. 25 to decide on the future of the Region, whether its people wish to remain part of Iraq or secede from the rest of the country as a newly-created state.
The vote will also be held in territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, specifically those currently under the administration of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which includes Sinjar (Shingal) and Kirkuk.
In a recent press conference, Mayor of Shingal Mahma Khalil said that the Ezidis had suffered a great deal as a result of being part of Iraq, with various crimes being committed against the minority throughout history.
“Voting ‘Yes’ for an independent Kurdistan will put an end to massacres and attacks, of which Ezidis have suffered through 74 times throughout our history,” Khalil continued. “It is the legal, constitutional, and democratic right of the people of Shingal and the Kurdistan Region to decide their destiny freely.”
The Mayor also mentioned an independent Kurdistan, including Ezidi-populated areas, would be a form of compensation for crimes committed against minorities in Iraq, Kurds and Ezidis alike.
Recently, a group of Ezidis released a song, filmed in the spiritual heartland and holy place of Lalish, calling on Ezidis to vote in favor of independence in the upcoming referendum “to prevent future atrocities.”
In August 2014, the Islamic State (IS) occupied Shingal and surrounding areas, displacing hundreds of thousands of Ezidis. IS kidnapped and enslaved thousands of Ezidis and carried out mass executions which have been recognized as a genocide by many countries and the UN.
In mid-November 2015, Kurdish Peshmerga forces with the support of the US-led coalition air strikes liberated Shingal.
Editing by G.H. Renaud