Yezidis won’t return to Sinjar without improved conditions: Yezidi princess

The Yezidi princess Mayan Khairy Saeed Beg told Kurdistan 24 in an exclusive interview that Yezidis would return to Sinjar if conditions improve.
Displaced Yazidis stand by their tents at the Chamishko camp for internally displaced persons in the city of Zakho, northern Iraq, May 5, 2022. (AFP)
Displaced Yazidis stand by their tents at the Chamishko camp for internally displaced persons in the city of Zakho, northern Iraq, May 5, 2022. (AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Mayan Khairy Saeed Beg, who is known as “Khatoon,” or princess, of the Yezidis, told Kurdistan 24 that Yezidis will not return to Shingal (Sinjar) if security and economic conditions do not improve.

Mayan Khairy Saeed Beg, is the wife of Mir Hazim Tahsin Beg, the prince and spiritual leader of the Yezidi community in Iraq and the world.

“A lot of people have university degrees but they are not employed. Our people must be able to defend themselves. If they [the authorities] improve the living conditions in Shingal, then yes, we would leave the camps – but that’s not the case for now,” she said. 

“Even our people who are in exile outside the country would be willing to return, but first the security situation must improve and the Yezidi people must be compensated for their losses. Every one of us would prefer to go back to where they come from and to perform their rituals at the land of their fathers and mothers.”

“The situation in Shingal is truly hard, we hope that there will be a solution. About 300,000 of our people are still displaced and they live in tents [in the Kurdistan Region],” she said.

Nevertheless, a small number of Yezidis have returned. On last Wednesday, the Kurdistan Region’s Minister of Migration and Displacement, Evan Faeq Jabro, said 1,150 Yezidi IDPs returned to Sinjar from IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps in Duhok province.

“We hope that the situation will improve so that they can return to their homes. It is not something normal to have people displaced away from their homes. In those old tents, they are living under difficult conditions; it is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It is not reasonable that after 10 years that they still live in tents,”

Moreover, she said that humanitarian aid has declined as well. “We hope that there will be a peaceful solution, because our people are truly tired. The security and financial situation of the Yezidis should be improved. After the genocide, our people have been forced to migrate to other countries around the world and they are currently waiting for an improvement.” 

“To live in exile is not easy, especially when one is forced to live in exile after facing oppression. We have not seen a peaceful day until now,” the princess added.

Read More: Sinjar is inseparable part of Kurdistan Region, says KRG Interior Minister

In Oct. 2020, the Sinjar Agreement was signed between Erbil and Baghdad with support from the UN to normalize the situation in Sinjar and facilitate the return of thousands of Yezidis in displacement camps. But so far, senior Kurdish officials say the agreement has not been implemented.

Moreover, on Mar. 1, 2021, Iraq's parliament ratified the Yezidi Survivors Law, in order to support minority survivors and the victims of the genocide committed by ISIS in 2014.

To date, however, the law has not been fully implemented, two years after its ratification. In February of this year, 420 Yezidi survivors received salaries from Baghdad per the law’s compensation.

Read More: SEED calls on Baghdad to protect Yezidi survivors

“Some of the Yezidis have recovered the remains of the victims, and some have been compensated for their losses – but some haven’t,” she said. “We want all relevant authorities, like Europe, to facilitate the work of the Yezidi people and remove the existing obstacles. We want Europeans to process the Survivors Law for Yezidi girls and women.”

Furthermore, she thanked Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for their support for Yezidis and hosting thousands of them in displacement camps across the Kurdistan Region.

Read More: ‘We will continue to support women in the Kurdistan Region’, says PM Barzani

On the anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution on Women Peace and Security (WPS), SCR 1325 on Oct. 31, organized by the High Council for Women and Development, PM Masrour Barzani said the KRG started a process to free kidnapped Yezidi women from ISIS militants, and the KRG is working on liberating the rest.

He also emphasized “the importance and necessity of implementing the Sinjar Agreement in order to end the state of emergency and instability in the Sinjar region,” while stressing the need to pressure “the illegal armed groups to leave the area so that the refugees in the area return to their places.”

Mayan Khairy Saeed Beg also thanked President Nechirvan Barzani and his Yezidi rescue office for helping to bring back about 3,000 Yezidi women. However, there are still about another 3,000 missing Yezidi women, according to the princess. 

“We ask Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. President to help us return them. The Yezidis at the moment are experiencing dire living conditions. Our girls are still held captive, and Sinjar has not been reconstructed. We want our women and other women in the world, especially the minorities, to live in peace.”