Belgian parliament committee recognizes Yezidi genocide

An aerial picture shows mourners gathering around coffins during a mass funeral for Yazidi victims of the Islamic State (IS) group village of Kojo in Sinjar distric, Feb. 6, 2021. (Photo:  Zaid al-Obeidi/AFP)
An aerial picture shows mourners gathering around coffins during a mass funeral for Yazidi victims of the Islamic State (IS) group village of Kojo in Sinjar distric, Feb. 6, 2021. (Photo: Zaid al-Obeidi/AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Belgian parliament’s foreign affairs committee on Wednesday approved a resolution to recognize ISIS crimes against the Yezidi community in 2014 as a genocide.

The resolution was submitted by Belgian opposition MPs Koen Metsu, member of the New Flemish Alliance and chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, and Georges Dallemagne of the Humanist Democratic Center party.

Metsu and Dallemagne visited the Kurdistan Region as well as the autonomous region in northeast Syria last December to assess the humanitarian and political situation of Belgian ISIS prisoners.

“Georges d'Allemagne and myself were very keen to do something for [Yezidis],” Metsu said in a statement. “They were among the biggest victims of ISIS and today we gave the Yezidis back their dignity.”

“This is a very important step in the collective healing process of the Yezidi community,” he added.

In June, the Belgian parliament heard from Yezidi activist and Nobel laureate Nadia Murad and Pari Ibrahim, executive director of the Free Yezidi Foundation.

“More than 6,000 women and children were taken captive by ISIS and over 2,800 are still missing today. Sexual violence was intentionally employed as a tactic of war,” Murad said in her testimony on June 16.

“Their goal was not only to eradicate our community in Iraq but to enslave and violate Yazidi women in order to destroy the fabric of our community from within,” she said. “There is no question that ISIS committed genocide. They did not attempt to hide it.”

Parliament called on the Belgian government to provide more assistance to victims of ISIS and for the prosecution of ISIS crimes.

“We are delighted that Belgium Parliament has formally recognized the Yazidi Genocide. We are grateful to MPs and the entire People of Belgium for the acknowledgement and support,” Murad Ismael, president and co-founder of the Sinjar Academy, told Kurdistan 24.

This means a lot to our people who are still recovering and in many ways still enduring the genocide.”