Press Release



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



*Texte en français en bas




We urge the Iraqi government to immediately release Khalid Shamo, after sentencing 

him to death based on false charges and without access to a fair trial. 


Reacting to the Nineveh Criminal Court decision in Iraq to condemn Mr. Khalid Shamo to the death penalty, and the protestations in Sinjar in reaction to the condemnation: 


On the 4th of February 2020, the Nineveh Criminal Court in Iraq condemned Khalid Shamo Sarhan Atto Salo, a 20-years old Ezidi/Yazidi, to the death penalty based on false charges. The accusation was his supposed-participation in an armed attack on a vehicle in Bara village, for which he already spent 7 months in jail without having the right to see anyone. His family is being denied their right to visit every time they try. This accusation is false, and Khalid never had a fair chance at proving its innocence. 


The treatment of this accusation by the Nineveh Criminal Court violates Khalid’s basic Human Rights because of its lack of due process and its failure to guarantee an efficient defence to the accused, notably by refusing to hear from the witnesses. 


Khalid was accused and detained under terrorism charges, for which torture and abuse are commonly used to obtain confessions. These charges, which are usually used to prosecute ISIS fighters and affiliates, are now used against innocent people at the convenience of Iraqi Courts. 


This brutal decision comes in the context of an evermore impoverished situation for the Ezidi community with most of its members living in camps for Internally Displaced People in the North of Iraq, and thousands of them were killed, kidnapped and traumatized during the 2014 genocide. 


After the genocide, the Iraqi government should have taken consistent steps to ensure the rehabilitation of Ezidis and their institutional integration but failed by choosing to close their eyes and ears to the voices of Ezidis and other minorities. 


A proper police investigation and a fair trial would have proved his innocence due to abundant evidence and witnesses that were available to the Iraqi police and the Justice Department. Among important pieces of evidence that we were able to collect in just a day, 

Khalid was 200km (124miles) away from the crime scene commemorating the Ezidi genocide in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and his supposed-affiliation to the PKK was denied by all his relatives.

Through this statement, we want to amplify the voices of the hundreds of Ezidis who took the streets of Sinjar City to protest this judgment despite the danger that such a demonstration represents to them. 


In the face of this evident injustice and the violation of Khalid Shamo’s human rights, we are calling upon human rights organizations around the world to join our fight and make sure that Khalid is provided with due process rights, which we are certain will result in him being cleared of all charges and released.


We call on Iraqi authorities to commit to withdrawing the ruling of the Mosul Criminal Court and establish a new trial that will ensure fairness and justice. 

We are also calling upon the President of Iraq, Mr. Barham Salih, the Iraqi Minister of Justice, Mr. Haydar Al-Zamli, the Nineveh Governor, Mr. Najim Al-Jiburi, the Nineveh Court Judge, Mr. Jamal Dawod Qaro Al-Sinjari and the Iraqi Ambassador in France, Mr. Nezar Khairallah to act in order to avoid an innocent man being killed under their watch. 


Voice of Ezidis



Co-signed by: 


Défense Sans Frontières - Avocats Solidaires (France)

Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (France)

Eyzidi Organization for Documentation (Iraq)

Gilles William Goldnadel, President of Avocats Sans Frontières ASF (France)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

Julien Martin, Lawyer at the Bureau of Strasbourg (France) 

Laure Streby, Lawyer in International Family Law (France)

Mirza Dinnayi, 2019 Aurora Prize Laureate for Awakening Humanity & Head of Luftbrücke Irak (Iraq, Germany)

Shingal Charity Organization (Iraq)

Union des Yézidis de France (France)

Yazda, Global Yazidi Organization (International)

Youth Bridge Development Organization (Iraq)

19th of February 2020





Nous demandons au gouvernement Irakien la libération immédiate de Khalid Shamo, 

après l’avoir condamné à mort suite à de fausses accusations et sans procès équitable.


Réaction à la décision de la cour pénale de Nineveh en Irak de condamner M. Khalid Shamo à la peine capitale, et les protestations au Sinjar en réaction à cette condamnation: 


Le 4 février 2020, la Cour Pénale de Nineveh en Irak a condamné Khalid Shamo Sarhan Aato Salo, un jeune Ezidi de 20 ans à la peine de mort sans aucune preuve de sa culpabilité. Le motif de sa condamnation est sa supposée participation dans l’attaque à main armée d’un véhicule dans le village de Bara, Sinuni Sub-district Sinjar district, pour lequel il a déjà passé 7 mois en prison sans avoir le droit de voir qui que ce soit. Sa famille se voit systématiquement refuser son droit de visite sans possibilité de recours. Cette accusation est fausse, et Khalid n’a jamais eu la chance de prouver son innocence. 


Le traitement de cette accusation par la Cour Pénale de Nineveh porte atteinte aux Droits Humains fondamentaux de Khalid à cause du manque d’impartialité de ces procédures et de son échec à garantir une véritable défense à l’accusé, notamment en refusant d’écouter les témoins.


Khalid était accusé et détenu pour des faits de terrorisme pour lesquels la torture et les abus sont fréquemment utilisés dans le but d’obtenir des aveux. Ces charges, qui sont habituellement utilisées pour juger les combattants de l’organisation état islamique, sont aujourd’hui utilisées contre des innocents à la volonté des tribunaux Irakiens. 


Cette décision brutale arrive dans un contexte d’instabilité toujours plus grande pour la communauté Ezidie dont des milliers de membres vivent dans les camps pour Personnes Déplacées Internes dans le Nord de l’Irak, et des milliers ont été massacrés, kidnappés et traumatisés durant le génocide de 2014. 


Après le génocide, le gouvernement Irakien aurait dû prendre des mesures importantes pour assurer la réhabilitation des Ezidis dans la communauté nationale et leur - plus qu’attendue - intégration institutionnelle mais ont échoué en décidant de fermer leurs yeux et leurs oreilles aux voix des Ezidis et des autres minorités du pays. 


Une véritable investigation policière et un procès équitable auraient prouvé l’innocence de Khalid au vu des nombreuses preuves et témoins qui se tenaient à disposition de la police Irakienne et du département de la Justice. Parmi des indices capitaux que nous furent en position d’acquérir en juste un jour, Khalid était à 300 km de la scène du crime en train de commémorer le génocide des Ezidis dans le région du Kurdistan Irakien, et son affiliation supposée avec le PKK est démentie par tous ses proches. 


A travers ce communiqué, nous voulons amplifier les voix des centaines de Ezidis qui sont descendus dans les rues de Sinjar pour protester contre ce jugement, malgré le danger qu’une telle manifestation représente pour eux. 


A la vue de cette injustice criante et de la violation des Droits Humains de Khalid Shami, nous faisons appel aux organisations des Droits Humains à travers le monde et leur demandons de se joindre à notre combat pour nous assurer que Khalid puisse avoir un procès équitable qui, nous sommes sûrs, se terminera par sa libération. 


Nous exhortons également le Président Irakien, M. Barham Salih, le Ministre de la Justice, M. Haydar Al-Zamli, le Gouverneur de Nineveh, M. Najim Al-Jiburi, le Juge de la Cour Pénale de Nineveh, M. Jamal Dawod Qaro Al-Sinjari et l’Ambassadeur Irakien en France, M. Nezar Khairallah d’agir et d’éviter la mise à mort d’un innocent sous leur gouverne. 


Voice of Ezidis



Co-signé par: 

Défense Sans Frontières - Avocats Solidaires (France)

Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (France)

Eyzidi Organization for Documentation (Irak)

Gilles William Goldnadel, Président d’ Avocats Sans Frontières ASF (France)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuanie)

Julien Martin, Avocat au Barreau de Strasbourg (France) 

Laure Streby, Avocate spécialisée en Droit International de la Famille (France)

Mirza Dinnayi, Lauréat 2019 du prix Aurora pour l'éveil de l'humanité et directeur de Luftbrücke Irak (Irak, Allemagne)

Shingal Charity Organization (Irak) 

Union des Yézidis de France (France)

Yazda International 

Youth Bridge Development Organization (Irak)

19 Février 2020

WhatsApp Image 2019-09-19 at

We have been published on Radio France Internationale. 


RFI made a report on the 5th commemoration of the Ezidi genocide in Sarcelles, France, organized by VOE. You can listen to the coverage here


" On 3rd August 2019, around 100 people including 12 Yazidi families gathered to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the beginning of the Yazidi genocide perpetrated by the Islamic State armed group in Sinjar in North-Eastern Iraq.
Thousands were killed while women and girls were raped and enslaved.
The boys were trained as child soldiers.
The Yazidis are an ancient minority with their own language, culture and centuries-old monotheist religion.
The jihadists considered them to be heretics, and thus, justified the indiscriminate killings and violence against them.
RFI's Zeenat Hansrod (Twitter @zxnt) covered the commemoration which took place in the north of Paris, in the town of Sarcelles

She spoke to Samson Husein, Farhad Shamo Roto –president of Voice of Ezidis – Diler Alhamad and a 24-year-old female refugee living in France.

Photograph by VOE, Voice of Ezidis "