Sinjar Court House reopens with USAID support
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Sinjar Court House has been reopened with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“The Court House, which provides important legal services such as administration of justice, was left severely damaged during ISIL (ISIS) occupation,” the UNDP said in a press release on Tuesday.
“With generous funding from USAID, UNDP rehabilitated this important facility that serves over 25,000 people across Sinjar District. The spacious and purpose-built Court House consists of 25 rooms, a director room, four waiting rooms and one main courtroom,” the release added.
The project was implemented through UNDP’s flagship Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) program.
“Since 2015, USAID has contributed around US $400 million to FFS, including over $10 million in Sinjar, making it the FFS programme’s leading partner,” the UNDP said.
In August 2014, ISIS launched its genocidal campaign against Sinjar’s Yezidis, displacing thousands of civilians. Most of these displaced fled to the autonomous Kurdistan Region, while others resettled in neighboring regional countries or Western states.
“The reopening of this facility is an important milestone in the journey to rebuild Sinjar and for the rule of law to prevail in the area,” said UNDP Resident Representative in Iraq Zena Ali Ahmad.
“Rehabilitating critical infrastructure and restoring essential services such as the Sinjar Court House is key to creating a safe and dignified environment for families choosing to return to Sinjar,” she added.
“Especially, through USAID’s support, UNDP has been able to prioritize support to the Yazidi (Yezidi) survivors of genocide as they return and rebuild their lives after years of conflict and trauma,” she concluded.
In a May report, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said the widespread destruction of civilian houses, new clashes, and social tensions prevent two-thirds of displaced families from returning to Sinjar.
According to the report, property damage is a “significant impediment to return as IDPs (internally displaced persons) lack the means or resources to rebuild their homes, especially in light of limited livelihood opportunities in displacement and the complexity and delays in compensation.”
In October 2020, the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) signed the Sinjar agreement to normalize the situation in Sinjar. However, the agreement remains unimplemented.