Last group of Yezidi women, children arrive in Paris for resettlement program
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On Wednesday, 27 Yezidi (Ezidi) women and their children arrived in Paris, completing a resettlement initiative by the French government that has welcomed members of the Iraqi religious minority that suffered greatly under the Islamic State.
As a part of the Humanitarian Admissions Program launched by President Emmanuel Macron in cooperation with The International Organization for Migration (IOM), France promised to receive 100 Ezidi families who were victimized by fighters from the extremist organization in northern Iraq and Syria.
After taking off from the Kurdistan Region's capital of Erbil, a plane carrying the final families assisted by the program touched down at Charles de Gaulle Airport, where they were greeted by the head of the French Foreign Ministry's Crisis Management Unit, Eric Chevallier.
"Your children are going to go to school, you're going to make friends," he told them.
A 30-year-old mother named Turko told AFP, "What we've lived through these past five years is unimaginable. Today France is opening its arms to us, we can only be grateful."
"The first thing we would like to do is learn the language, send our children to school, and learn French culture. Afterward, our children will decide what they want to do with their lives," she added.
The project was introduced by Macron with the support of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad, who is an Ezidi Islamic State survivor and has advocated for victims from her community worldwide.
The emergence of the group's militants and their violent assault on the Ezidi-majority city of Sinjar (Shingal) in 2014 led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Ezidi civilians. 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.
Editing by John J. Catherine