Obstacles to return of Yezidis 'political', says Shiite party leader
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The outstanding obstacles to the return of Yezidis are “political”, a top Shiite party leader said on Tuesday in Baghdad.
The leader of the Hikma (Wisdom) Movement Ammar Al-Hakim remarks came during a commemoration event held in Baghdad to mark the 9th anniversary of the Yezidi genocide committed by the so-called Islamic State.
“The obstacles to the return of [displaced] Yezidis are political, not economic,” Hakim said, calling for the implementation of the Sinjar Agreement inked by Baghdad and Erbil in September 2020 to normalize the situation in the Yezidi-majority town.
The ongoing presence of militia forces, including those close to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and the lack of reconstruction funds have mainly hindered the return of thousands of displaced Yezidis that are hosted at camps in the Kurdistan Region’s Duhok province.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has called on the Iraqi authorities on several occasions to ramp up efforts to work towards implementing the deal, which will pave the way for a “voluntary and dignified return” of the population, according to Kurdish officials.
The Ministry of Interior has recently announced the voluntary return process for Yezidis that are currently in the Kurdistan Region.
Marking the 9th anniversary, the UK government on Tuesday recognized the ISIS atrocities against Yezidis as genocide.
The Human Rights Watch in early June voiced similar concerns regarding the return of Yezidis.
“Political infighting is preventing the use of available funds while Sinjaris remain in limbo,” Sarah Sanbar, an Iraq researcher at Human Rights Watch, said at that the time.