‘Collaborative efforts' between Erbil, Baghdad needed for Yezidis ‘dignified return’ home: Nadia Murad

Yezidi (Ezidi) Nobel Laureate Nadia Murad (left) meets with KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, Feb. 7, 2021. (Photo: KRG)
Yezidi (Ezidi) Nobel Laureate Nadia Murad (left) meets with KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, Feb. 7, 2021. (Photo: KRG)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Cooperation between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and its federal counterpart in Baghdad is the only thing that can ensure a “dignified return” of Yezidis (Ezidis) displaced by the Islamic State in 2014 to their areas of origin, an Ezidi Nobel laureate said on Monday.

A proper return home by members of the religious minority “can only be achieved through collaborative efforts between Baghdad & Erbil in order to improve security & local governance in Sinjar, & invest in restoring basic services,” wrote 2018 Noble Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, herself a survivor of the Islamic State's brutality from which she escaped.

Murad’s remarks came following a meeting with Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Sunday, in which both discussed the return of Yezidis to the disputed district of Sinjar (Shingal) as well as the ongoing investigations of the extremist group being undertaken by a United Nations investigative body on crimes committed by the terror group, UNITAD.

In the meeting, premier Barzani assured Murad that the Kurdistan Regional Government “stands” with the Ezidi community and “wants to see a safe and dignified return of all Ezidis to their ancestral home,” he added in his tweets.

Read More: KRG 'stands' with Yezidi community, Kurdistan PM says in meeting with activist

On Saturday, the remains of more than 100 Ezidi victims were buried in Shingal’s village of Kocho, where Murad was born, after the victims’ remains had been sent to a forensic lab in Baghdad as part of ongoing efforts to identify the dead. So far, lab workers have completed the examinations of 104 individuals.

Some mourners screamed in grief  and called to their loved ones in a public outpouring of sorrow. (Photo: Ivor Prickett/The New York Times)
Mourners gather in a public outpouring of sorrow for relatives killed by the Islamic State. (Photo: The New York Times/Ivor Prickett)

In early October, Baghdad and Erbil announced they had reached an initial agreement to restore and normalize the situation in the Sinjar (Shingal) area, where competing armed groups operate, primarily the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militias.

Read MoreKRG and Baghdad reach administrative, security agreement on Sinjar

The agreement involves understandings on security, civil administration, reconstruction, public services, and the return of thousands of displaced Ezidi families.

Editing by John J. Catherine