At Sharya IDP camp near Dohuk, home to 40,000 displaced Ezidi people, the CPT delegation met a deeply inspiring group of Ezidihttps://cpt.org/wp-content/uploads/IMG_0316-2.jpgYazidi young adult activists and community organizers: three women and three men. Together, they voluntarily run a community center project partially supported by Alind, a CPT partner organization. After these young people fled ISIS and exchanged their homes and lives in Sinjar (Shingal) for tents in a camp, they did not want to just sit back. They began to organize themselves to serve their community through offering psycho-social support, activities with children, various trainings and community work. They continue doing so even despite the fact that the funding from a major aid agency ran out. In these hot summer months they must buy water for the participants from their own pockets. We are very thankful for the opportunity to move together beyond the veil of what our CPT mandate is (and is not) and experience a deep inter-human connection. In the narrative where Yazidi people are mainly portrayed as uneducated, poor and victims, and in the camps where jobs are often given to non-Ezidis, the group members’ agency and commitment will hopefully encourage and inspire others.
Celebration to Conclude Children’s project
The members of the delegation added their talents to plan the party to celebrate the achievements of the Children’s project. The Family Centre in Rapareen, Sulaimani offered their facility as the venue. Children from the various displaced communities: Iraqi Christian and Arab, Syrian Kurdish and Arab, Ezidihttps://cpt.org/wp-content/uploads/IMG_0316-2.jpgYazidi, and from the Kurdish host community came together. These children, who had participated in the CPT experiential project exploring ways to build peace, joined to view their artwork, play many games and feast on delicious food. To conclude the event all fifty children drew together a 10 meter long picture depicting their images of What is peace.
Bazian Community Centre Psycho-social Newspaper
As a conclusion to the eight week psycho-social program that CPT co-facilitated in partnership with REACH, the participants created and printed a newspaper. They wanted to spread the news that friendship among different cultures is possible. Throughout the eight weeks of group work we focused on building trust, shared responsibilities and learning the importance of co-operation between cultures. We have come to realize and want to share the news that we are one family living under one sky.
Next Steps in Alternatives to Violence Project
In March CPT Iraqi Kurdistan facilitated and participated in the first 60 hour AVP training in this region. Now, in June we worked together with newly trained facilitators to guide young people in two one day workshops. The participants, members of refugee, IDP and host communities, have encountered much distress as the result of severe tensions between the groups. In the workshops the participants have experienced how they can overcome cultural, language and gender barriers to listen and understand the situation of each other. A young Syrian Kurdish woman said, “We learned that they (Iraqi Kurds) don’t hate us and if we just get to know each other we can be friends”. At the end of the day they asked for more.
CPT Iraqi Kurdistan Delegation June 2015
June 2-11 saw three delegates and leader, Terra Winston join CPT Iraqi Kurdistan for a delegation. The days were full and the activities varied. Most of the the team joined the visitors to travel north to Dohuk area to visit a community of Ezidishttps://cpt.org/wp-content/uploads/IMG_0316-2.jpgYazidis who are still living in unfinished houses. We had the privilege of touring the sacred place for Ezidis, Lalish, where we were welcomed and experienced the hospitality given to visitors of all faiths. In Sulaimai we heard stories from several partners of CPT IK and visited the Anfal memorial museum , Amna Sureke.
Report on communal tensions and ethno-religious discrimination in Arbat IDP Camp
After the team spent many weeks speaking to representatives from every group in Arbat IDP camp, our report is complete. The findings of the report are very sensitive and might cause an escalation of camp tensions. Therefore the report is not public. Team shared it with care with the UNHCR officials and several other people and agencies who we hope could commit to working on strategies to alleviate the causes of these tensions.