Yezidi Leaders to Meet with UN
A delegation of Yezidi leaders will discuss the plight of their community with United Nations officials in Geneva on Monday.
The conference was set after Yezidi leader Prince Tahseen Said Bek called on the United Nations to do more to protect Yezidis who are facing continued threats by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants.
The extremists, who consider Yezidis devil worshipers, are systematically targeting Yezidis and other minorities, community leaders and international human rights watchdogs say. IS besieged the Yezidi town of Shingal and expelled tens of thousands of Yezidis who are now in refugee camps in Syria.
The threat against the Yezidis was one factor prompting US military strikes against IS in Iraq.
Begg is demanding international support for the immediate release of Yezidis who were kidnapped by IS, including women and girls who were taken as “spoils of war.” He is also calling for a “safe zone” for displaced minorities, victim compensation from the Iraqi government and resettlement of Yezidis in western countries.
Yezidi leaders estimate 5,000 people have been kidnapped by IS. The UN estimates the figure to be around 2,500.
The United Nations issued a statement last week stating that Yezidis were among Iraqi minorities who were victims of “targeted killings, forced conversions, abductions, trafficking, slavery, sexual abuse, destruction of places of religious and cultural significance and the besieging of entire communities because of ethnic, religious or sectarian affiliation.”
The UN’s Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Rita Izsak, has expressed grave concern over the massacre of thousands of Yezidis. Echoing similar concerns, Tashida Manjoo, Special UN Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, said, “We have reports of women being executed and unverified reports that strongly suggest that hundreds of women and children have been kidnapped – many of the teenagers have been sexually assaulted, and women have been assigned or sold to IS fighters as ‘malak yamiin’ or slaves.”
Yezidi leader Prince Tahseen Said Bek