Lack of identity closed school doors in face of IDP kid

Duhok, March 2022: Zhina, only 6, and her mother Samira, live by themselves in a camp for internally displaced persons IDPs. Exclusively for KirkukNow

The Ministry of Education of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has refused to admit a six-year-old girl named Zhina to school for the second time.

Zhina was born on December 28, 2015, after her mother Samira had a relationship with a man who had promised to marry her in one of the camps for internally displaced persons IDP. When he learns that Samira is pregnant, he leaves her and refuses to marry her at court or by a clergyman.

According to the guidelines of the Ministry of Education, Zhina should have been in the first grade of primary school last year, but was not admitted because she does not have an identity card.

This year, despite the efforts and promises of organizations and officials to issue her an identity card, but once again the girl and her mother were disappointed and not admitted to school.

Samira visited the camp school, which is under the Ministry of Education of the KRG, last July to register her daughter for the new school year, but the principal told her, “I cannot accept your daughter, she needs an ID. I can allow her as a listener or visitor but officially can’t and it's not in my power.”

The camp where they live is one of 16 camps for IDPs, mainly Ezidis (Yazidis) from the war-torn Shingal (Sinjar), a district under Ninewa province.

I can't accept your daughter, she needs an ID

The man who had a relationship with Samira has deserted her since he found out she was pregnant. The girl's identity has not been issued.

Although the man who fled was identified by security agencies, it turned out that he had "left Iraq," according to the former director of the camp where Samira lived.

Last year, after the story of Zhina and her mother was published by KirkukNow, the Duhok provincial administration and officials of the Ministry of Education have positively responded yet Zhina’s case has not been solved.

When Samira went to the camp school in July, she refused to enroll her daughter as a guest.

"I have only one request. I don't want my daughter's future to be lost. It is useless to accept her as a visitor. I am very sad and upset. I am constantly thinking about my daughter's future. I have visited several places to get an identity card, but to no avail.”

I am very sad and upset, I am constantly thinking about my daughter's future

Samira gave birth to Zhina six years ago, following 2014 events, when the Ezidi community fled their home town in fear of the atrocities by the extremist militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS accused them of being “Devil Worshippers” for being non-Muslims. The crimes amounted to genocide according to the United Nations and several European parliaments.

The family of Samira then fled Gir Ouzer subdistrict to Mount Shingal where some families are living up today while majority fled toward Duhok. Samira was only 22. The family decides to stay on the mountain while Samira manages to convince her parents to leave to Duhok and escape the blazing summer under tents and poor living conditions.

Ema, a civil society non-governmental organization NGO, has decided to take over the case of Zhina and Samira.

“Our team visited the camp where Zhina and her mother live and obtained a power of attorney from Samira to try to obtain an identity card for her daughter but it seems it's complicated and we need a lot of time to solve the problem," said Gizing Salam, a legal adviser of the NGO.

“The problem is that the person who cheated on her is unknown and we have heard that she has gone abroad... The KRG Education Minister himself is aware of this case... We are trying to find a legal way out.”

The problem is that the person who cheated on her is unknown and we have heard that he has gone abroad

According to Islamic Sharia and Eastern traditions, sex is a taboo for couple before getting married by a clergy and registration of the marriage at court by civil authorities.

Ezidis are an ethno-religious minority over half a million population, mostly residing in Shingal and Shekhan in northern Iraqi province of Ninewa. The militants of the extremist group of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS in 2014 attacked their communities accusing them of being heretics, killing thousands of men and taking thousands of women and children as sex slaves.

Ezidism is an old Middle Eastern monotheistic ethnic religion and is based on belief in one God who created the world and entrusted it into the care of seven Holy Beings, known as Angels. The ouststanding among these angels is Melek Taus who is the leader and has authority over the world. 

Most Ezidis speak Kurmanji, one of the two main Kurdish dialects, however, most Ezidis consider Ezidism a religious not ethnic identity.

A child like Zhina can obtain an identity card through several legal procedures, one of which is based on the Civil Status System No. 32 of

According to Article 28 of the Civil Status System, any illegitimate child whose parent is known has to be registered in the Birth Register based on a decision issued by the Personal Status Court or the Personal Affairs Court and proof of paternity or the child's paternity, name, date and place of birth, then go to the civil registry.

Currently, the issuance of both citizenship and civil status identification cards has been suspended and replaced by national cards.

According to Article 20 of the National Identity Card Law No. 3 of 2016, any child who does not have complete information due to the death and disappearance of one of his parents, or the absence of both or one of them, a decree including the child's name, father, mother and grandparents, place and date of birth, is circulated by Juvenile Court to Ministry of Health and the National Identity Card Affairs Directorate, based on a medical report from the Ministry of Health which consequently issues a birth certificate so that later a national card is issued accordingly.

From August 1 to the end of the same month, Ema organization transferred Samira and her daughter to Erbil for psychological treatment.

“I was in a good mood there, but when I came back to the camp, I keep thinking about my daughter's future and that makes me very upset,” Samira said.

A statistic for the organizers of the campaign "My name is my mother's" indicates that there are 4,000 children in Iraq who were born as a result of the rape of their mothers by ISIS extremist militants between 2014 and 2017, and they have no identity cards up to the present.

According to the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child, every child has the right to education and prevention is considered a violation.

Shahab Ahmad, the administrative director of Kurdish education in Shingal, told KirkukNow, “We cannot accept anyone without citizenship.”


*Zhina and Samira's names are pseudonyms and the name of the camp is kept secret by KirkukNow for their safety.

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