Yazidis will not return for fear of genocide, lawmaker says
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Iraq’s only Yazidi lawmaker had made an emotional speech on Aug 5 to draw attention to the suffering of her community. AA PhotoIraqi Yazidis are afraid to return to their ancestral lands due to fears of a future genocide, Feyyan Dahil, who has worked to bring attention to the plight of besieged members of her community, has said.
Dahil is now recovering in a hospital in Istanbul after surviving a helicopter crash on Aug. 12 in northern Iraq. She was accompanying an aid mission when the helicopter crashed as it attempted to take-off, leaving the pilot dead and injuring around 20 people.
“They cannot go back to Sinjar. They are too scared to go back,” she told Anadolu Agency. The U.N. refugee agency had said tens of thousands of civilians, many of them from the Yazidi religious minority, were trapped on Mount Sinjar by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria.
“They don’t feel secure living there because another attempt at genocide may occur in the future. The people around them were the ones who betrayed them during ISIL’s assault. They cannot trust them again,” she said.
Dahil, Iraq’s only Yazidi lawmaker, drew attention to the suffering of her community who follows beliefs linked to Zoroastrianism, in an emotional speech to Iraq’s Parliament on Aug. 5. The Yazidis, dubbed “devil worshippers” by ISIL militants because of their unorthodox blend of beliefs and practices, are a small and closed community and one of Iraq’s most vulnerable minorities.
Dahil said Yazidis face two choices, live in a United Nations-appointed “safe haven” or emigrate abroad. “Most of them want to go to other countries, including Turkey,” she said. The Yazidis are primarily heading for safety in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Dahil said many would take up arms with the Peshmerga to fight against ISIL.