Afrin: The continuation of the Ezidi genocide
12th of September 2019 – Paris
The 3rd of August 2014, ISIS forces entered Sinjar and started systematic killings of Ezidi men and boys and enslavement of women and girls. These atrocities recognized officially as genocide by the UN was a peak in a larger pattern of violence and discrimination in the Middle Est started centuries ago. Ezidis have always been discriminated throughout the history of the Middle East for various reasons such as their own religion, their unique identity etc… And today, despite of the genocide they suffered, Ezidis are still facing discrimination and threat to their life in the areas ridden by the Syrian’s crisis. In particular, in Afrin (Syria) where since march 2018, the Turkish army and its allies have taken over the region and only limited information has been released about the situation, the Ezidi presence is in real danger due to the crimes and abuses committed by the militants of the Syrian armed factions that control the area. Historically, the Ezidis are a major and original component in the Afrin region and it is considered as one of their original homelands. The Ezidis population in the region was around 60,000, including 25,000 in Afrin city. Before the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, the Ezidis were distributed in 22 villages: 3 villages, all inhabitants of the Ezidis, such as Basofan and Fakira, in addition to the areas of Shakak, Lilon and Gumy, with 5 villages in Shakak, 11 villages in Lilon and 6 villages in Gumy. Since the attack of the 18th March 2018, led by the Turkish forces and their Syrian armed factions on the Afrin region, 80% were forcibly displaced from their homes because they are facing real threats to their existence. In fact, the ones who remain in the area face murder and kidnapping, are forced to convert to Islam and forces to attend religious school while their religious believe and practices are mocked. These crimes and violations against human rights target Ezidi and other community groups such as Assyrians, Alawites, Kurds, Armenians. To stop this violent pattern, we call the attention of the international community to ask them to act promptly. To the international civil society, we ask to not look away and to raise their voice for the abused and persecuted, the tortured and massacred, the hanged and imprisoned and the hidden and forgotten.
Farhad Shamo Roto – President of Voice of Ezidis