Displaced Yezidis refuse to return to Sinjar amid continued lack of security, services
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Displaced members of the Yezidi (Ezidi) ethnoreligious community refuse to return to their homes in disputed areas of Iraq's Nineveh province as they await the implementation of the Sinjar Agreement.
The Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Oct. 2020 announced they had reached a deal to restore and normalize the situation in the Sinjar (Shingal) area, where competing armed groups are active.
"Living condition inside the displacement camp is difficult; we are still waiting for the government to rehabilitate Sinjar and implement the normalization agreement for us to return," Sabry Hassan told Kurdistan 24. Hassan is from the area but now lives in a displacement camp in the Kurdistan Region.
The agreement's primary purpose involves understandings on security, civil administration, reconstruction and service rehabilitation, and the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs.)
Sinjar Mayor Mahma Khalil told Kurdistan 24, "We have presented several reports to the federal government, indicating that the implementation of this agreement is the key to solving the issues facing the district, as it has a solid constitutional and legal base."
He explained that the presence of armed groups such as the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) hinders the implementation of the agreement.
"We request the federal government to oust any unlawful armed forces from the district, and for official Iraqi security forces to take care of the security of the district," Khalil added.
For over seven years, displaced families from Sinjar have been living in 14 displacement camps across the Kurdistan Region, with more than 80 percent of them refusing to return to their homes as over 20,000 fighters crowd the Sinjar area.
The head of the UN's Iraq Assistance Mission (UNAMI) in August called again for the creation of a unified administration in the disputed district of Sinjar during an online event marking the seventh anniversary of the Yezidi genocide, in which thousands were brutally murdered, kidnapped, and trafficked at the hands of ISIS.