Iraq’s parliament ratifies survivor law in major recognition of Yezidi genocide
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s parliament on Monday ratified the Yezidi (Ezidi) survivor law, which will offer financial compensation to survivors of the genocide Islamic State committed against the Yezidi community.
The National reported on Monday that the new law stipulates that survivors of the 2014 genocide will be entitled to financial compensation as well as pensions and salaries.
It also calls for the establishment of a state-run department to look after survivors, rehabilitate them and help them to reintegrate into society.
Today's passage of Iraq’s Yazidi Survivors Bill is an important first step in acknowledging the gender-based trauma of sexual violence & need for tangible redress. Implementation of the law will need to be focused comprehensively supporting & sustainably reintegrating survivors.— Nadia Murad (@NadiaMuradBasee) March 1, 2021
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Yezidi survivor Nadia Murad tweeted that the passing of the law was an important first step “in acknowledging the gender-based trauma of sexual violence and need for tangible redress.”
“Implementation of the law will need to be focused comprehensively supporting and sustainably reintegrating survivors,” she said.
Murad thanked Iraqi President Barham Salih for introducing the “landmark bill” and everybody who voted for the law.
Salih welcomed the passing of the law as a victory of “our daughters” who were subjected to the crimes of ISIS.
The Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani welcomed the passage of the bill, declaring it an important first step “step towards compensation for the victims of genocide.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi stressed that the new law is a vital step towards justice for Yezidis.
The Iraqi government is eager to implement the law, “provide a dignified living for all female survivors, work on freeing those in captivity, and [to] support liberated areas,” he said on Twitter.
The emergence of the Islamic State group and its violent assault on Iraq’s Yezidi-majority city of Shingal in August 2014 led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of members of the community and a genocide in which scores were killed.
According to the latest data from the Yezidi Rescue Office, which is affiliated with the Kurdistan Region’s Presidency, it has saved over 3,537 Yezidis out of the 6,417 known people kidnapped by Islamic State militants. Some 2,880 people remain missing.
Yezidi leaders have asked the international community for more support for the reconstruction of their home of Shingal (Sinjar) as well as renewed efforts to find hundreds of Yezidi women and children who are still missing.
Last month the remains of more than 100 people were buried in Shingal after they were positively identified as Yezidi victims of ISIS.
“The passage of this reparations bill in Iraqi Parliament is a good step forward. This was the right decision, despite a long delay,” Pari Ibrahim, Founder and Executive Director of the Free Yezidi Foundation, told Kurdistan 24.
“However, we must not act like this has now solved the problems that remain,” she added.
Ibrahim said that the recognition by an Iraqi institution of the gravity of what happened to Yezidi was symbolically important.
“Now momentum must continue so that Yezidis can live in peace in Iraq. This is a good step, we appreciate and applaud this, but it is only one of many necessary steps,” she said.
Murad Ismail, the co-founder and former executive director of the multi-national organization Yazda, told Kurdistan 24 that the passage of the new law also includes the first legal recognition of the Yezidi genocide by Baghdad.
“The Kurdistan Regional Parliament passed the resolution a few years back. This recognition by Iraq from the highest authority is one important step toward justice,” he said.
Editing by Joanne Stocker-Kelly