80 organizations, experts urge rescue of Yezidis still missing after being kidnapped by ISIS
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Following Tuesday’s opening of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, over 80 organizations and experts called on world leaders to ensure that missing Yezidi (Ezidi) women and children kidnapped since 2014 by ISIS in the disputed Iraqi district of Sinjar (Shingal) are located and safely reunited with their families.
The emergence of ISIS and its violent assault on Iraq’s Yezidi-majority city of SInjar in August 2014 led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of members of the religious community while committing crimes that are now widely recognized as genocide.
Seven years after ISIS abducted them from Sinjar, 2,763 Yazidi women and children are still unaccounted for and their fates remain unknown, a joint letter from the organizations read.
“Despite this significant lapse of time, no real effort has been made to locate them, and if alive, ensure that they are rescued and reunited with their families,” read the letter, which called upon world leaders to work together to conduct an official investigation into the whereabouts of the missing women and children, including at the infamous al-Hol displacement camp in Syria, where many are believed to be held among the tens of thousands who live there without the knowledge of the camp administration.
“The international community must make a serious, coordinated rescue effort,” Pari Ibrahim, Founder and Executive Director of the Free Yezidi Foundation (FYF) and co-author of the letter, said.
“We are calling for an ‘Amber Alert’ for our missing Yezidis. This year, FYF’s top priority, seven years since the Yezidi Genocide began, is: Bring Back Our Women & Girls.”
In the UK, the letter was delivered in person to Lord Alton of Liverpool, peer at the UK House of Lords, by Dr. Ewelina Ochab and Jess Templeman from the Coalition for Genocide Response.
Lord Alton later said that he was honored to support the initiative to rescue Yezidi women and children.
“It is unacceptable that seven years after the abductions, this step has not been taken,” he concluded. “These women and children deserve better. Their families deserve better. We, as the international community, must do better.”
In August, on the seventh anniversary of the Yezidi genocide, Yezidi activists called on the international community to help bring missing girls taken from their community back home.