81 Yezidis abandoned on island between Turkey and Greece
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – 81 Yezidis from Sinjar on their way to Europe have been left on an island between Turkey and Greece for six days.
28 men, 28 women, and 25 children have been stranded on the island and are in dire condition, according to a videotape sent to Kurdistan 24.
In the video, they call on human rights organizations to help them as they are lacking critical food and medical supplies. The refugees allege they were deceived by a smuggler promising them access to Europe.
In 2020, Erbil and Baghdad reached a UN-backed agreement to normalize security and administrative affairs in Sinjar. The agreement, however, has yet to be implemented. Kurdistan Region officials have repeatedly called on Baghdad to enforce the agreement.
According to the recent US State Department annual report on International Religious Freedom (IRF), the Yezidi people fear returning back to their homes in Sinjar because of continuing Turkish airstrikes against the PKK in the town.
Migrant smuggling is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry. Smuggling networks often exploit impoverished refugees by providing cheap but unsafe sea transportation, such as dinghies at heavy risk of capsizing.
“We’ve recorded more than 29,000 deaths during migration journeys to Europe since 2014,” said Julia Black, author of a recent International Organization for Migration (IOM) report on missing migrants.
“These continuing deaths are another grim reminder that more legal and safe pathways to migration are desperately needed,” the author added.