Two Kurdish women’s rights groups have announced plans for leading efforts to rebuild the war-torn Sinjar region, and to help Yazidi women affected by the war. These plans, described as a “roadmap,” involve restoring trust between Yazidis and other religious and ethnic groups in the region.
Help for Kurdish Yazidi Women
Sinjar (or Shingal in Kurdish), is a region in Iraqi Kurdistan that has been under constant siege from ISIS for most of the past year. Only recently has it been partially liberated by Peshmerga forces and US-led coalition airstrikes.
Sinjar is the traditional home to Kurdish Yazidis, a people who follow an ancient religion that predates Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The Yazidis were persecuted by ISIS, and at least 1000 Yazidis were killed when ISIS invaded the Sinjar region in 2014. Many Yazidi women and girls were kidnapped, raped and/or killed.
A Collective Effort
Earlier this year, two Kurdish women’s rights organizations sat down with politicians, religious leaders, social science professors and government officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi Government.
These individuals contributed to a collective report, which was advised by a number of foreigners and international development professionals.
“We have spent great amount of time and effort to write this report and really hope that both Baghdad and Erbil take it seriously,” said Chinar Abdulla, who represents Emma Organization, one of the women’s rights groups that are behind the initiative.
Investigating Crimes and Rebuilding Trust
The Kurdish women’s rights groups that have announced the plans to rebuild the Sinjar region also have highlighted a number of initiatives that they plan to pursue.
These initiatives include investigating sex crimes against Kurdish and Yazidi women in the region — highlighting the lack of verifiable knowledge about the number of crimes and documentation about victims in the various Sinjar communities.
The Kurdish women’s rights groups acknowledge that it may take years to rebuilt trust between the Yazidi community and other ethno-religious groups in the region.[Read more at Rudaw]