Kurdish activists call for more help for Yazidi women

by John Bergen, member of Iraqi Kurdistan Christian Peacemaker Team
On Sunday, August 24, over sixty activists marched to the UN Consulate in Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, to demand that the UN take more action to help Yazidi women and girls kidnapped by ISIS. They carried banners that read “UN, Take Action, Our Women and Girls are Enslaved” and “Committing Genocide Against the Minorities is a Stark Violation of International Humanitarian Law,” and chanted as they walked. Protesters read a statement in front of the Consulate before several organizers went inside to speak with representatives from the UN. Two members of Christian Peacemaker Teams, Peggy Gish and John Bergen, accompanied the protest.One protester, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “I’m Kurdish. It’s my duty to come out here and support my country and encourage other teenagers to demonstrate and support Yazidi girls and their human rights.”

A local campaign organized the protest, seeking to put pressure on the UN and the Kurdistan Regional Government to take more proactive steps to over a thousand Yazidi women who have been kidnapped by ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State. The Islamic State forces some of these women to become wives of fighters and sells others into slavery. Militants also threaten many women with death, and have killed many men who refused to convert to the Islamic State’s version of Islam.

The Yazidis are a small ethnic and religious community in Iraqi Kurdistan, and are falsely considered “devil worshippers” by Islamic State militants. Since militants invaded earlier this year they targeted Christians and other religious minorities, but have particularly attacked the Yazidis.

After marching roughly two kilometers from the Noble Hotel to the UN Consulate, several organizers met UN representatives inside. When the organizers emerged, they said that the UN supported many of their suggestions and encouraged them to continue pressuring the Kurdish Regional Government.

Christian Peacemaker Teams – Iraqi Kurdistan encourages our friends and supporters to help create the nonviolent alternative to the terror of ISIS. We urge international governments to step up their humanitarian aid donations and open their borders to refugees.

(4 photos)

Christian Peacemaker Teams - Iraqi Kurdistan's photo.
Christian Peacemaker Teams - Iraqi Kurdistan's photo.
Christian Peacemaker Teams - Iraqi Kurdistan's photo.
Christian Peacemaker Teams - Iraqi Kurdistan's photo.
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