Ezidis (Ezidis) open their hearts to German Foreign Minister

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock planting seedlings with a number of Ezidi girls in Shingal (Sinjar) on March 9th, 2023. Petrichor Non-governmental Organization NGO.

By KirkukNow

The Ezidis of Shingal (Sinjar) district of Ninewa province expressed their happiness at the visit of the German Foreign Minister to Shingal and see it as a great support for the cause of the Ezidis .

On the 9th of this March, Annalina Baerbock, the German Foreign Minister, arrived in Shingal district - the historical hometown of the vulnerable Ezidi community - and met with different groups and listened to their demands and stressed the continuation of German support for the Ezidis in Iraq.

Mirza Dinnayi, one of the Ezidi personalities and representatives of non-governmental organizations NGOs who received the German Foreign Minister and met with her for an hour, said, "We talked about the situation in Shingal in all respects, especially the challenges facing citizens, whether political or security, or related to the return of the displaced to their homes.”

“As We talked about how the international community can help the residents of the region at this stage, we called for the establishment of an international fund to help the people," Dinnayi added.

We called for the establishment of an international fund to help the people

Mirza Dinnayi born in Shingal in 1973, son of chieftain for Dinnayi tribe family, is known as the director and co-founder of the Luftbrücke Irak (Air Bridge Iraq), a non-governmental organization Ngo which helped over 150 Ezidi victims of the Iraq war, rescued women and children from the ISIS-controlled territories and transferred them to Germany, where they received medical care.

In October 2019, Dinnayi received the Aurora Award for Awakening Humanity. As the laureate, he could choose 3 organizations to share the $1 million prize. Dinnayi picked Air Bridge Iraq, SEED Foundation and the Shai Fund.

The House of Coexistence, a non-governmental cultural and social center supported financially by Dinnayi, was the first stop of the visit of the German Foreign Minister.

“In the meeting, we discussed the issue of rebuilding Shingal and how to provide services to Shingal and its outskirts, especially those related to the education, health and other sectors. In turn, they listened to our demands and suggestions. We are very excited about this visit."

Dinayi stressed that "the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs indicates that Germany will never forget the Ezidis and will support and assist them constantly. Her visit is a promising message for the Ezidi community."

The house consists of a cultural and social center and a public platform for the youth of the region from various religious and ethnic components.

Dar Al-Taayesh (House of coexistence) was officially opened on July 23, 2022 in the presence of representatives of the components of Ninewa Province and a number of administrative and security officials. The construction of the project was commenced in November 2020 on an area of ​​1,200 square meters where a three-floor building was constructed.

The area of the project is 1200 square meters: three stores will embrace four conference halls where trainings can be held for rehabilitation of the youth about co-living, beside a café, theatre, Roman theatre and a big garden.  

The German Foreign Minister paid tribute to Ezidi victims in the village of Kocho at the cemetery , Shingal district, March 9, 2023. Courtesy of Mirza Dinyi

Baerbock 's visit comes after the German Parliament (Bundestag) decided in a session held on January 19, 2023 to classify the violations and crimes committed by the militants of the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL" against the Ezidi component in Iraq as genocide.

"Three years ago, I saw Ezidi women in northern Iraq. They were kidnapped, enslaved, and raped. Their pain hanuts me. The German Parliament (Bundestag) decided to classify ISIS crimes against the Ezidis as it is: genocide," she said at the time, in tweets in the Kurdish language.

The German Foreign Minister visited the old bazaar in the center of Shingal and spoke with a number of Ezidis, "I came to see your situation closely."

"We could not turn a blind eye to the genocide that was committed against the Ezidis, and we stood with the victims... We also want to help those who migrated in order to return home."

Germany has the largest number of Ezidi refugees, estimated at 150,000, according to Deutsche Welle (DW).

Khairy Ali, an official of the Petrichor Human Rights Organization, and one of the participants in the meeting with the German Foreign Minister, told KirkukNow, “We talked about the issue of human rights and the challenges that the people of Shingal face daily. We talked about the victims and provided accurate statistics of the violations committed under the rule of Daesh (ISIS) militants.”

Shingal, located 120 west of Mosul, on the border of Iraq-Syria, is home to the Ezidi minority targeted by ISIS in August 2014 and one of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil. 

Seized in August 2014 by ISIS militants whom accused the Ezidis of being “heretics,” Shingal has been the scene of tragedy: a genocidal campaign of killings, rape, abductions and enslavement, amounted to genocide lately acknowledged by parliaments of Belgium and Netherlands.

Thousands of Ezidi women, girls and kids were enslaved and taken as sex slaves. KRG office for rescue of missing Ezidis says 6,417 Ezidis were enslaved by IS when it took over Shingal in 2014 and 2,700 of them have been brought to unknown destiny.

German Foreign Minister Annalina Baerbock visits a school in the center of Shingal, March 9, 2023. Petrichor Organization

 "The Ezidis feel good about Germany, because it helped them in many difficult situations and circumstances. The visit of the German Foreign Minister is important at this stage. We hope she will provide us with greater support."

Qasim Rasho, a resident of Sinuny district of Shingal district, says that he learned about the visit of the German Foreign Minister from the media and expressed his happiness with that visit.

The Ezidis feel good about Germany, because it helped them in many difficult situations and circumstances

"We have dozens of problems. Services can be provided to all parts of the region by installing a new administration for Shingal," according to Qasim Rasho.

There are currently two administrations in Shingal, one of which runs its duties from Dohuk Northern Province under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG and the other within Shingal, and neither of them recognizes the other.

"We demand the implementation of the demands presented to the German Foreign Minister as soon as possible," Rasho added.

The last stop of the German Foreign Minister's visit was the village of Kojo, where ISIS militants committed massacres against the Ezidis, where she placed flowers on the victims' cemetery.

Amid the atrocious attacks of IS, 1,293 Ezidis were killed, 68 shrines were destroyed and over 80 mass graves have been discovered.

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