ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Paris announced on Thursday that 31 Yezidi (Ezidi) women and their children who were subjected to Islamic State persecution had been granted amnesty and had landed in France early that morning.
“These women, who suffered especially badly from the terrorist organization’s atrocities, are being cared for in various French departments. Thanks to the support of several state services, France is providing them with protection, security, education and medical-social support,” read a statement.
The flight, which took off from the Kurdistan Region's capital of Erbil and touched down at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, was organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and funded by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
“The move testifies to France’s renewed desire to establish, in coordination with the Iraqi authorities, facilities for welcoming victims of ethnic and religious violence in the Middle East.”
The statement added that France was working to “restore favorable living conditions” in Iraq by “helping rebuild the territories liberated from Daesh (Islamic State) control.”
This marks the third wave of Ezidi families France has taken in as part of the Humanitarian Admissions Programme, launched by French President Emmanuel Macron.
The project was introduced by Macron with the support of 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad, who is an Islamic State survivor and has advocated for Ezidi victims worldwide.
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 in Western states.
According to official numbers from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), after the Islamic State managed to take control of Shingal, they kidnapped 6,417 (3,548 males and 2,869 females) members of the Ezidi community, the number of Ezidis freed from the terrorist group since 2014 is 3,509 individuals, while 2,908 remain missing or unaccounted for.
On Tuesday morning, a fire destroyed at least 20 shelters in an Ezidi displacement camp in the Kurdistan Region, a source from the camp administration said. The fire erupted in Chamshko Camp, which is located in the city of Zakho near the Turkish border and is home to nearly 5,000 Ezidi internally displaced persons (IDPs).
On Saturday, the Kurdistan Parliament held its final vote to officially designate Aug. 3, the anniversary of the beginning of the Islamic State's assault on Shingal, as Ezidi Genocide Remembrance Day.
Editing by John J. Catherine