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AGENDA:IMPLICATIONS OF THE YAZIDI WAR CRIMES AND TO CURB THE HUMAN RIGHT VIOLATIONSINTRODUCTIONISIS has committed the crime of genocide as well as multiple crimes against the Yazidis, thousands of whom are held captive and are subjected to almost unimaginable horrors. ISIS has sought to destroy the Yazidis through executions; sexual slavery, enslavement, torture and infliction of conditions of life that bring about a slow death breaking their mental and physical state horrifically. From preventing Yazidi children from being born, including forced conversion of adults, the separation of Yazidi men and women, and mental trauma; and the transfer of Yazidi children from their own families and placing them with ISIS fighters, thereby cutting them off from beliefs and practices of their own religious community, and erasing their identity as Yazidis Over 3,200 Yazidi women and children are still held by ISIS. Most are in Syria where Yazidi females continue to be sexually enslaved and Yazidi boys, indoctrinated, trained and used in hostilities. Thousands of Yazidi men and boys are missing while the female who’ve managed to escape recount how their sisters, mothers and daughters are still trapped in an endless nightmare of torture and rape. BACKGROUNDTHE YAZIDI RELIGION AND IT’S HISTORYAlso called Yezidi, Daasin, or Ezidi, the Yazidi are a Kurdish-speaking people based in Northern Iraq who practice a religion influenced by pre-Islamic Assyrian traditions, Sufi and Shiite Islam as well as Nestorian Christianity, and Zoroastrianism.It is regarded as one of the oldest religions in the world and it’s primary god is Melek Taus, the peacock angel whose story closely matches Islam’s knowledge of ‘Shaytan’, their devil. This causes majority of the Muslims to persecute the Yazidi’s as ‘devil worshippers’. It is estimated that twenty-three million Yazidis died from persecutions against their ethno-religious background within the past 700 years. During the sixteenth century violence against the Yazidis began to rise as other communities in the region considered the Yazidis to be rivals for power. Massacres and forced conversions whittled away the Yazidi population.Notably, violent anti-Yazidi campaigns were common under Ottoman rule and which makes the Yazidi’s no strangers to tragedy. THE MAIN PERPETRATORS: ISISThe ISIL(Islamic state of Iraq and Levant) renamed itself as the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) after it’s capture of Mosul, the second most populous city in Iraq in 2014. A radical Islamist terrorist organisation which was established back in 2003 during the US Invasion of Iraq are the main perpetrators to ongoing genocide against the Yazidi community.Currently considered as the most dangerous terrorist organisation in the world the ISIS has claimed responsibility for several terrorist attacks including the Baghdad bombings, Jakarta attack and the attacks in France amongst hundreds of others all for their mission to establish a caliphate. THE SINJAR MASSACRE In June 2014, ISIS seized Mosul, rattling the Sinjar region that then lay in between ISIS-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria. In the months prior to the attack on Sinjar, ISIS began to take control of increasingly large areas in Syria and Iraq, culminating in sizeable offensives in August 2014. The Iraqi Kurdish forces, the Peshmerga, maintained bases and checkpoints throughout the Sinjar region and were the only security force in the region. In the early hours of 3 August 2014, ISIS fighters attacked Sinjar from Mosul and Tel Afar in Iraq . The attack was well organised and carefully planned and the ISIS met with little to no resistance as most of the Peshmerga force had withdrawn leaving the civilians defenseless.   Following the attack they immediately began to destroy Yazidi shrines and proceeded to execute thousands of Yazidi men while abducting the women and children who were subsequently raped and used as sex slaves for ISIS fighters. Those who fled early enough to reach the upper plateau of Mount Sinjar were completely  by ISIS. A humanitarian crisis quickly unfolded as ISIS trapped tens of thousands of Yazidi men, women, and children in temperatures rising above 50 degrees Celsius and prevented them from accessing to water, food or medical care. People began to die in the thousands due to dehydration prompting the Emir of the Yezidi Tahseen Said to beg world leaders for help. INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTIONSeveral days after Tasheen Said’s call for help, U.S. forces began dropping aid on the Sinjar Mountains for individuals stranded without access to food, water, or supplies. Former U.S. President Barack Obama announced the U.S. would begin air strikes to prevent a massacre of the Yazidis trapped in the Sinjar Mountains.The following day, the U.S. began air and drone strikes on ISIS.The US were soon joined by UK, France, Australia and Denmark amongst several other countries to provide relief to the trapped Yazidi’s as well as to carry out air strikes against the ISIS perpetrators.Armed forces of several countries lead by the US still maintain a strong presence in the region to carry out rescue operations in hopes to save the Yazidi’s who are still held captive by the ISIS.WAR CRIMES AND VIOLATIONS AGAINST HUMANITYThe horrific nature and scale of this crime GenocideArticle II of the 1948 Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide  to which Syria and Iraq are parties, states that the crime of genocide is committed when a person commits a prohibited act with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such. The attack carried out by the ISIS was a carefully planned extermination of the Yazidi’s executed in one of the most brutal ways possible. WAR CRIMES AGAINST WOMENRAPE “In Rambussi we were held in a house with five other girls. There they did to me what they did to many other girls. I was raped. My cousin was not molested; they wanted to take her to marry her to a man but in the end they left her with us and then we managed to escape. One of the girls said she was not raped but I don’t know if it is true; I hope it is true. Another did not talk about what happened to her. The others were raped. The men were all Iraqis. They said that if we killed ourselves they would kill our relatives. -15 year old Arwa, abducted from Mount Sinjar.Most accounts of women who have escaped from IS captivity include rape by their abductors  as one of the innumerable tortures they had to face. PHYSICAL ABUSE “Men came several times to take away some of the girls. Those who resisted were beaten and pulled away by the hair. Some were beaten with electrical cables. I was not afraid of the beatings, but could not bear the thought that they could attack my honour. -First person account of a survivor. HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND SEXUAL SLAVERY We were driven into Raqqah city at night and held in a building there. I was there for three weeks before I was sold. Throughout that time, ISIS fighters were coming to buy women and girls. All of us were Yazidi. I think I was sold about 15 times in all. It is hard to remember all those who bought me. One of the more horrific aspects of captivity was the slave trading that went on. Many women described the horrors of being sold off and the extremes some women went to avoid it by killing themselves in a desperate attempt to escape the brutality inflicted upon them.CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY MASS EXECUTIONS AND KILLING:After we were captured, ISIS forced us to watch them beheading some of our Yazidi men. They made the men kneel in a line in the street, with their hands tied behind their backs. The ISIS fighters took knives and cut their throats.- Girl, aged 16 at capture, held for 7 months FORCED CONVERSIONS AND RECRUITMENTS FOR SMALL BOYSThey told us we had to become good Muslims and fight for Islam. They showed us videos of beheadings, killing and ISIS battles. My instructor said “You have to kill kuffars even if they are your fathers and brothers, because they belong to the wrong religion and they don’ t worship God”.- Boy, aged 12 at capture, trained in Syria REACTIONS FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY RECENT DEVELOPMENTSVolunteers from the Yazidi community, the Peshmerga, and the PKK-related factions, helped retake territories near Sinjar and stayed in the area to protect it from ISIS forces.Human Rights Watch visited seven sights of mass graves north of Mount Sinjar in August 2016.These teams found the sights of the mass graves unprotected in ways that, without proper care, may eventually compromise the evidence of large-scale executions of Yazidi community members. After ISIS lost control of territories near Sinjar, some Yazidi people returned to their homes. Nevertheless, many Yazidi families feared returning to their homes while conflicts between the Peshmerga, PKK-related factions, KRG forces, and Iraqi forces developed over time. Yazidi community members still face degrees of regional instability, internal displacement, and political misrepresentation, as conflict continues to spread throughout Iraq. ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE UN: Following the events in Sinjar the United Nations declared it as a level 3 emergency and immediately deployed troops and resources to provide relief following the attack. UNCHR reached up to 166,000 people with protection monitoring across Iraq. It  provided shelter and relief items such as hygiene products, mattresses, blankets, stoves and plastic sheeting to 30,000 people in the Kurdistan region, including those escaping Mount Sinjar.  It distributed mattresses, blankets, emergency relief kits, household items and hygiene kits to locations near effected areas.UNICEF has moved 30 truckloads of relief supplies closer to areas where displaced people are arriving, in addition to conducting distribution of life-saving aid throughout Dahuk Governorate.  In total, 60 tons of emergency aid are prepared including 1,100 cartons of emergency food rations, 500 cartons of high protein food supplements, 40 boxes of oral rehydration solution and 15 climatized 72 square meter tents for emergency shelter.  With its partners and local authorities, UNICEF has delivered aid to 73,000 children, women and their families, distributed 34,000 high energy biscuits for children under five, and is also providing support to displaced children who have been separated from their families. WHO continues supporting local health authorities in the field, with two mobile health teams on Mount Sinjar and emergency relief at Pesh Khabur, where 16 ambulances are transporting those arriving, and mobile clinics providing emergency health care to the displaced across Dahuk Governorate.  UNFPA is working with local authorities and partners to distribute hygiene supplies and clothing to over 1,300 pregnant women as well as medical supplies to support 150,000 people. UN SECURITY COUNCIL adopted a resolution on September 21, 2017:  They unanimously adopted UNSC Resolution 2379 (2017)  paving the way for an investigative team to collect evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Iraq. Since 2014,the ISIS has been perpetrating a genocidal campaign against the Yazidi and potentially other ethnic minorities in Northern Iraq but yet to date no perpetrator has been held accountable for genocide.But the Security Council and Iraq must also fully implement their obligations under the UN Genocide Convention to prevent, suppress and punish genocide, including by rescuing the thousands of women and girls still held in captivity. The Council and UN Member States have been tiptoeing around even acknowledging the ongoing genocide against the Yazidi for years.QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED How to go about preserving and protecting the remaining Yazidi community around the world?How to provide adequate support to the survivors in order for them to overcome this tragedy?How to bring the perpetrators of this horrific crimes to justice?REFERENCES

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