The association Voice of Ezidis, co-founded in Paris in 2019 by survivors of the 2014 genocide perpetrated by the so-called Islamic State, is committed to the support of the Ezidi community, both in France, where some refugee families have fled since the beginning of the genocide, and in Iraq, where a lot of Ezidis still reside. Voice of Ezidis defends the rights of the Ezidi people and advocates for the awareness and recognition of the genocide it endured in 2014.
In the wake of the genocide
When ISIS invaded the Sinjar region, Ezidis fled by car to the Sinjar mountain, safest place they could reach in a short amount of time. There, they were subject to constant attacks by the terrorist group settled at the bottom of the mountain, and suffered from the lack of water and food, obliging few people to go back to their villages to bring supplies.
After one week of hardship, a humanitarian corridor was opened to allow survivors to go in Syria but, even there, they were attacked by ISIS, launching rockets to prevent their escape. Survivors were able to escape to Syria and stayed in the refugee camp of Nowroz.
The Ezidis who fled were soon relocated to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, into Internally Displaced Persons camps where most of them are still living up to this day. Farhad Shamo Roto and his family were moved to the Internally Displaced People Khanke camp. There, he and his friend, Suleiman Shukur decided to become active in support of their community. They started volunteering with several local and international organizations operating in the camps and offering relief to the many displaced Ezidis and other minorities.
Working for the greater good.
Since August 2014, Farhad and Suleiman never stopped working to defend the Ezidi cause.
Among the many projects and activities they implemented as volunteers, they especially worked on the creation of Youth Centers in Khanki and the launching of the Women Empowerment Program to assist the most vulnerable groups after the tragedy that took place.
They also collaborated with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), other international organizations and UN agencies and journalists to spread the word about what happened to the Ezidi community and ensure that they will not be forgotten.
Doing these volunteering missions, Farhad and Suleiman started thinking about the creation of their own organization, that could fill the gaps by participating in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Ezidis in Iraq, and spread awareness about the genocide to demand justice, accountability and reparations.
From Irak to France, echoing the voice of Ezidis...
Farhad Shamo Roto arrived in France at the end of 2017 after seeking asylum from Iraq. He lived in the Drôme region of France, a place that has a heritage of welcoming refugees since the last century, especially Armenians.
He then moved to Paris to do a Service Civique in a European organization fighting against racism and discrimination on the continent. This first experience gave him the necessary knowledge and insights to found of Voice of Ezidis. He also met a dynamic team of young activists who followed him through his journey.
Voice of Ezidis was officially launched in May 2019 in Valence. The following month it was officially registered as an NGO in France. Composed of a young team with diverse backgrounds and experiences, our organization was built on the idea of inclusivity, diversity, humanism and solidarity.