Dutch Consul-General visits Yezidi leadership to underline continued support

“The Netherlands remains committed to supporting the Yezidis.”
The Dutch Consul General in Erbil, Hans Akerboom, visited Lalesh in Shekhan on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022 (Photo: Wladimir van Wilgenburg/Kurdistan 24).
The Dutch Consul General in Erbil, Hans Akerboom, visited Lalesh in Shekhan on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022 (Photo: Wladimir van Wilgenburg/Kurdistan 24).

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Hans Akerboom, the Dutch Consul General in Erbil, visited the Yezidi holy temple in Lalish in Shekhan and underlined that the Netherlands will continue supporting the Yezidis persecuted by ISIS.

“The Netherlands remains committed to supporting the Yezidis,” Akerboom told Kurdistan 24. “The Yezidis suffered a lot at the hands of ISIS.”

Last year Akerboom visited Mir Hazim Tahsin Beg, leader of the Yezidis in Iraq and the world, and Ali Elias Haji Nasir, their new spiritual leader, also known as Baba Sheikh.

Read More: Yezidi leadership appreciates Dutch support for Yezidi community

Last week, legal experts and Yezidi activists discussed the possibility of prosecuting ISIS fighters involved in crimes against Yezidis in the Dutch parliament.

The majority of the Dutch parliament recently accepted a resolution calling on the government to include crimes perpetrated against the Yezidi community in the evidence collected on ISIS.

Read More: Dutch parliament debates prosecution of ISIS crimes with focus on Yezidis

The resolution comes after the Netherlands repatriated more ISIS women from Syria earlier this month. Yezidis fear that these women might not be prosecuted for crimes against the Yezidi community.

“We in the Netherlands continue to follow the situation of the Yezidis,” Akerboom said. “We keep close contact with the Yezidis. There are not only a lot of interests in the Netherlands for Yezidis but also as the Netherlands Consulate General in Erbil we keep in close contact with the Yezidi community.”

“Today, I visited and met with Baba Sheikh and the Mir,” he added. “The discussions were very constructive. We discussed what happened during the ISIS period and the many victims and consequences that are still felt today. The situation of displaced Yezidis, the victims of the rape, genocide, and other crimes is high on the agenda of the Netherlands.”

Akerboom pointed out that the Netherlands finances several projects and programs for the Yezidis, including one to support victims of the atrocities. 

“Moreover, we look to the future,” he said. “We also try to give opportunities to young Yezidis in the labor market by providing training. During the visit, we also talked about the agriculture sector and opportunities to invest in agriculture in Yezidi areas.”

“The Netherlands plays an important role in agriculture in the Kurdish region and also the areas where Yezidi’s live,” he added. 

During their discussions with Akerboom, the Yezidi leaders emphasized the importance of implementing the Sinjar Agreement and rebuilding the destroyed city so displaced Yezidis can safely return and resettle there. 

Read More: KRG and Baghdad reach administrative, security agreement on Sinjar

The Sinjar Agreement, reached between the federal government of Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in October 2020, calls for the removal of all armed groups that operate in the embattled district.