President Nechirvan Barzani participated in the ninth anniversary of the genocide of the Yezidis and the Sinjar tragedy. The commemoration ceremony was arranged by the Yazda Organization, in Erbil on August 3.
During the ceremony, also attended by Mr. Mustafa Sayed Qadir, Vice President of the Kurdistan Region, Mr. Qobad Talabani, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, a number of ministers and officials of the Kurdistan Region, diplomats, personalities and rescued Yezidis, foreign guests, academics, Yezidi, Muslim and Christian clerics, civil society representatives and a number of Yezidi survivors, President Nechirvan Barzani delivered the following speech:
Dear relatives of the victims of the Yezidi genocide, Dear attendees. Good day, and welcome to the commemoration of the dreadful tragedy of Sinjar and the genocide of the Yezidis.
Remembering the genocide of the Yezidis is a different and special commemoration, because, for me, the horrors of this genocide and tragedy are still ongoing and have not yet ended. A large number of abducted Yezidi women, children and men are still missing. As long as there is one kidnapped Yezidi left, this crime will haunt us and its consequences will still bring sorrow and pain to the Yezidis and the people of Kurdistan.
Today is the day when we all honor the heroism and sacrifice of the Peshmerga, who after the reorganization of their forces under the command of President Massoud Barzani, defeated the myth of ISIS on the ground. Greetings to the souls of the heroes who gave their lives to liberate Sinjar and protect the whole of Kurdistan. Thanks to the support of the international coalition against ISIS to the Peshmerga and the Iraqi forces.
Thanks to the people of the Kurdistan Region for opening their doors to the refugees, to the Yezidi refugees, especially the people of Duhok province who have cooperated in every way with the Yezidi brothers and sisters. It will never be forgotten when in Badinan, people opened their homes, schools and mosques to welcome and shelter the Yezidi brothers and sisters.
I commend the Yazda organization for arranging this ceremony. I also commend them for their work for the Yezidis. I hope they continue their work with strength. A special thanks to Ms. Nadia Murad for all the work she does for the Yezidis.
I thank all the parliaments, governments and organizations in the world that recognized the tragedy of Sinjar as genocide, and support the Yezidis in any ways. The latest one was the British government, which recognized the tragedy of the Yezidis as genocide on August 1. We thank them and call on other countries to recognize this great crime as genocide.
We in the Kurdistan Region respect and appreciate the position, solidarity, cooperation and support of these countries to the Yezidi community.
on August 3, another calamity came upon the Yezidis and another tragedy entered the history of the people of Kurdistan. No one imagined that such a brutal crime against humanity would be committed in the 21st century. This tragedy was heartbreaking; it hurt everyone and all communities in Kurdistan, as ISIS henchmen brutally kidnapped Yezidi women and children, bought and sold them, slaughtered and killed people, burned and destroyed Yezidi houses and temples. This crime was an unprecedented crime of our time.
As a result of this atrocity, more than 5,000 Yezidis were martyred by ISIS, including 400 people who were massacred in the village of Kojo. So far, 83 mass graves have been discovered, and 135,000 Yezidi refugees are still living in camps under tents and in difficult conditions, while 189,000 have been scattered in the Kurdistan Region after being displaced from Sinjar. 2,745 children have been left without parents due to ISIS attacks. This is in addition to thousands of other Yezidis who were displaced in Europe and other countries and separated from their homeland and relatives.
Unfortunately, 1,244 kidnapped Yezidi girls, women and 1,402 men and youth are still missing.
So far, 1,208 women, 339 men and 2,023 children have been rescued. I would like to thank the staff at the Kidnapped Yazidi Rescue Office, and their team members one by one. I reiterate: As long as there is one Yazidi kidnapped left, this section of my office will remain and will continue to find and rescue the kidnapped.
The situation of the Yezidis in the Sinjar region is dreadful; so many of the families who returned to Sinjar were forced to leave the city again, due to the lack of services, lack of security and peace, and lack of job opportunities.
The Iraqi Federal Government should pay special attention to the services and reconstruction of Sinjar, which is affected more than any other place by the ISIS attacks, because in Sinjar, besides houses, roads, families and the society as a whole were destroyed. A deep wound has been opened in the souls and minds of the Yezidis and the people of Sinjar, which will never heal easily, and will need the help and cooperation of all of us.
A crime was committed against the Yezidi people that has had a huge social and psychological impact. The impact of the genocide has been compounded by living without services and nine years of living under tents. We are aware of their difficult living conditions in the camps. It is the responsibility of all of us in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region to change this situation.
The implementation of the Sinjar agreement will pave the way for the return of the people of Sinjar and the region. In order for the people to live in peace in Sinjar and its surroundings, all the forces that are not from Sinjar must leave the area, and the management and protection of Sinjar must be handed over to the people of Sinjar and a legal authority. PKK forces and all foreign forces must leave the area. These forces will only create disaster, and instability for Sinjar and the Yezidis, and deepen their wounds.
Ladies and gentlemen.
The Yezidis have a peaceful human belief. They do not attack anyone or any nation, they do not interfere in anyone’s religion, and they do not accept anyone to convert to their religion, this, in order to maintain lasting peace. They are utterly peaceful with all their surroundings. They have a beautiful saying about this:
In Bore Hur, ride
Listen to the soul
Be friends with all creatures
Yezidis and Yezidism have preserved their beliefs, literature and language in Kurdistan, because the language of worship of the Yezidis is Kurdish. You may meet a non-Yazidi Kurd in a city, or somewhere in Kurdistan, or abroad, who does not speak Kurdish, but you will not find any Yezidis anywhere who does not speak Kurdish.
The Yezidis have played an important role in all Kurdistan revolutions, which is why our ancestors taught us to love and respect the Yezidis. The enemies of Kurdistan have never spared the Yezidis. During the Anfal process, several Yezidi villages were obliterated.
The Yezidis have always been a prominent and beloved part of the people of Kurdistan and will remain so. The Yezidis and all Kurdistan communities, regardless of their religion and ethnicity, have always lived together peacefully. Today, I assure the Yezidi brothers and sisters and all communities in Kurdistan that our country, Kurdistan, will always remain a cradle of coexistence, mutual acceptance and tolerance and will never allow hatred and extremism.
The dreadful situation of the Yezidis has always been an important part of our discussions with the parties and officials of the world. Fortunately, an international consensus on (recognizing) the genocide of the Yezidis has been formed and is expanding, but unfortunately there is no consensus in Iraq on resolving the situation in Sinjar, which is an injustice being committed against the people of Sinjar.
It is now a critical time to call on the Kurdistan Parliament, the government and the political parties in Kurdistan and Iraq to hold a special meeting to follow up on the implementation of past decisions and find a swift practical solution to the situation in Sinjar.
Therefore, it is imperative that the parliament and all factions in the Iraqi parliament and the federal government take practical steps to normalize the situation in Sinjar.
Once again, we pay tribute to the souls of the victims of the Yezidi genocide. Thank you for your presence and participation.
Welcome, once again.