ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Germany’s Brandenburg state is set to take 60 Yezidi (Ezidi) survivors of the Islamic State from the autonomous Kurdistan Region to Germany this year as part of a project to provide psychological treatment and support to Ezidi women who suffered after being kidnapped by the militant group, a German lawmaker said on Tuesday.
Andrea Johlige, a member of the Brandenburg Parliament, said although the decision was issued years ago it would be implemented in April 2019.
“The Parliament of Brandenburg approved the decision in 2016 to take in 60 Ezidi women survivors” from the Kurdistan Region to Germany, but the implementation was delayed, and it is expected to happen this year in April, Johlige told Kurdistan 24.
“Two million euros had been dedicated to this program as the first stage to cover the expenditure of the medical treatment and taking care of the victims,” she added.
On the delay of the project’s implementation, the German lawmaker pointed to delay in approval from the German government as well as the need to prepare the accommodations and mechanisms to take the Ezidis into the country.
She noted that the program, for now, would only include the survivors who the Islamic State kidnapped and raped. Johlige explained that it is challenging for Ezidi women to open a new page in their lives or even to decide whether to keep the babies they gave birth to after the extremists raped them.
The emergence of the Islamic State and its violent assault on Sinjar (Shingal) in 2014 led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Ezidis. Most of them fled to the Kurdistan Region, while others resettled to neighboring countries in the region or Western states.
Others were not as lucky and remained stranded in the war zone, where they experienced atrocities and mass executions at the hands of the extremist group for years. Militants subjected women and girls to sexual slavery, kidnapped children, forced religious conversions, executed scores of men, and abused, sold, and trafficked females across areas they controlled in Iraq and Syria.
Before the 2014 attack, there were roughly 550,000 Ezidis in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. As the militant group took over large swaths of territory in Nineveh province, 360,000 Ezidis escaped and found refuge elsewhere, according to the Ezidi Rescue Office.
So far, 69 mass graves which contain the remains of Ezidis have been excavated along with untold numbers of individual graves.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Additional reporting by Shawqi Kanabi)