26 August 2014
IRAQI KURDISTAN: Kurdish activists call on U.N. and KRG to take action for kidnapped Yazidi women.
On Sunday, 24 August 2014, over sixty activists from a Kurdish woman’s
organization marched to the U.N. Consulate in Erbil (Hawler in Kurdish) to
demand that the U.N. do more to help Yazidi women and girls kidnapped by the
militant group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS). They carried banners
reading, “U.N., Take Action, Our Women and Girls are Enslaved,” and “Committing
Genocide Against the Minorities is a Stark Violation of International
Humanitarian Law.” Protesters, who chanted slogans as they walked, then read a
statement in front of the consulate before several organizers went inside to
speak with representatives from the U.N. 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
Those organizing the campaign want to pressure the U.N. and the
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to treat the kidnappings of Yazidi women as
more of an emergency, and take more urgent measures to help them. The IS forces (also called ISIS, ISIL and
DAASH) have forced some of these women to become wives of fighters and sold
others into slavery. Militants also threaten Yazidi women with death, and have
killed Yazidi men who refused to convert to the group’s version of Islam.
The Yazidis are a small ethnic and religious community in Iraqi
Kurdistan, whom IS militants falsely label “devil worshippers.” Since the militants
invaded earlier this year they have targeted Christians and other religious
minorities, but have attacked the Yazidis with particular viciousness.
After marching roughly two kilometers from the Noble Hotel to
the U.N. Consulate, several organizers met U.N. representatives inside. When
the organizers emerged, they said that the U.N. supported many of their
suggestions and encouraged them to continue pressuring the Kurdish Regional
Government to rescue the women.
Christian Peacemaker Teams-Iraqi Kurdistan encourages our friends
and supporters to help create a nonviolent alternative to the terror of the IS.
We urge international governments to step up their humanitarian aid donations
to agencies desperately trying to help the hundreds of thousands Iraqis fleeing
the IS onslaught and to open their borders to refugees.