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Statement by the Office of Coordinator for International Advocacy: Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Possesses an Unyielding Determination to Safeguard and Advance the Entitlements of the Yazidi Brethren

In light of some recent unjust and destructive criticism on certain social media platforms against the Yazidi community, and that several Imam’s, no more than four to five individuals, endeavored to explicate the matter in their Friday speech. However, a malevolent entity in the media and social networks attempted to mislead and detract from the issue at hand. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) staunchly affirms its commitment to safeguarding and promoting the rights of the Yazidi brothers.

The KRG also vehemently denounces any diatribe of animosity, emphasizing that there are approximately 6,500 mosques and religious loudspeakers in the Kurdistan Region, and only a handful of four to five Imam spoken of the attack on the Muslim mosque in Sinjar.

Additionally, those Imams stresses that they did not have the intention to propagate hateful rhetoric, but rather aimed to draw attention to the unfortunate incident where handful youths had attacked a mosque in Sinjar through throwing stones. Notwithstanding, those Imams persisted in asserting that this occurrence does not entail culpability upon all Yazidis for said actions.

Conformably with the sanctified precepts of Islam, due regard should be accorded to all other religions, while any external factions that endeavor to undermine the harmonious cohabitation of communities in the Kurdistan Region ought to be forestalled. The KRG resolutely denounces any reckless aggression directed at the Yazidi Kurds and any vitriolic dialogue that seeks to vilify the Yazidis in an adversarial manner.

The (KRG) underscores that the utterances of a handful of reckless persons are not commensurate with the prevailing sentiment of the populace of the Kurdistan Region, and that in previous instances, persons who have propagated deprecatory comments regarding certain communities have been subject to retribution.

In Kurdistan, hate speech is not tolerated, as evidenced by the fact that previously an Imam who once delivered a hateful speech was brought to court and publicly expressed remorse. While several Imams have explicitly and actively denounced the attack on the mosque in Sinjar by Yazidi youths, they have also made it clear that this should not be held against the Yazidi community as a whole.

Similar to how the actions of the terrorist organization ISIL should not be viewed as representative of the Islamic faith, the behavior of a few individuals should not be used to generalize an entire community.

KRG reassert that notwithstanding the financial encumbrances and the presence of extrinsic forces that seek to undermine the harmony among communities in the Kurdistan region, the KRG persistently advocates for the rights of the Yezidis, and that the most resplendent emblem of the Kurdistan Region is its coalescence and cohesion.

The KRG has implemented numerous initiatives to safeguard the Yazidi community, encompassing the provision of refuge, medical assistance, and academic opportunities to the internally displaced individuals within the vicinity. The KRG has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the Yazidi Kurdish cause and has endeavored to eradicate any virulent rhetoric targeting them.

Moreover, the KRG has forged collaborative relationships with both regional and international partners to recognize the heinous crime of the Yazidi genocide perpetrated by ISIS and to secure acknowledgment of the genocide from various countries and international entities.

Thus far, 5,170 cases have been recorded, with over 2,324 cases resolved in court, while another 2,000 are still awaiting resolution and under investigation. Additionally, 2,916 people are currently listed as missing, and over 2,234 victims have been provided with social and psychological assistance. Meanwhile, in order to document the atrocities committed by ISIS, the KRG has worked in collaboration with the United Nations Investigation Team (UNITAD) under the auspices of the Iraqi National Coordination Committee (NCC) to advance accountability for the crimes committed by ISIS, particularly those committed against the Yazidi Kurds.

The KRG remains steadfast in its commitment to uphold the rights of the Yazidis. A committee has been established to amass data and scrutinize instances of individuals who have been abducted, and has earmarked financial resources for this endeavor.

As of the date of 22nd February 2022, a total of 3552 individuals have been retrieved, which includes 1207 females and 339 males, while 2,719 individuals are still unaccounted for.