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German parliament recognises Yazidi 'genocide' in Iraq

German parliament recognises Yazidi 'genocide' in Iraq
3 min read
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi rights activist, said she hoped the resolution would inspire other countries to follow suit.
Representatives of the Yazidi community have welcomed the move [Getty images]

Germany's lower house of parliament recognised on Thursday the 2014 massacre of Yazidis by Islamic State group jihadists in Iraq as a "genocide", and called for measures to assist the besieged minority.

In a move hailed by Yazidi community representatives, deputies in the Bundestag unanimously passed the motion by the three parliamentary groups in Germany's ruling centre-left-led coalition and conservative MPs.

Thursday's vote followed similar moves by countries including Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The chamber "recognises the crimes against the Yazidi community as genocide, following the legal evaluations of investigators from the United Nations", the resolution said.

The text condemns "indescribable atrocities" and "tyrannical injustice" carried out by IS fighters "with the intention of completely wiping out the Yazidi community".

It urges the German judicial system to pursue further criminal cases against suspects in Germany. And it calls on the government to increase financial support to collect evidence of crimes in Iraq and boost funding to help rebuild shattered Yazidi communities.

It also calls for Germany to establish a documentation centre for crimes against Yazidis to ensure a historical record, and to press Baghdad to protect the minority group's rights.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi rights activist, said she hoped the resolution would inspire other countries to follow suit. "Survivors deserve no less."

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Islamic State jihadists in August 2014 massacred more than 1,200 Yazidis, members of a Kurdish-speaking community in northwest Iraq that follows an ancient religion rooted in Zoroastrianism. IS sees them as "devil worshippers".

The Yazidi minority has been particularly persecuted by the jihadist group, which has also forced its women and girls into sexual slavery and enlisted boys as child soldiers.

A special UN investigation team said in May 2021 that it had collected "clear and convincing evidence" that IS had committed genocide against the Yazidis.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock recalled speaking to Yazidi women in Iraq who had been raped and held captive by IS fighters. The motion was being passed for them and "in the name of humanity", she said.

"We must call out these crimes by their name," she told the chamber. "We must ask what we can do to prevent future genocides."

Around two dozen Yazidi community representatives attended the debate at the glass-domed Reichstag parliament building in central Berlin.

Mirza Dinnayi, head of NGO Air Bridge Iraq which assists Yazidis, told AFP the measure was "pioneering" for addressing "the consequences of the genocide".

He welcomed the inclusion of "practical steps the German government can take to support the Yazidi community in Iraq as well as the diaspora".

A Yazidi MP in the Iraqi parliament, Nayef Khalaf Sido, called it a "historic turning point" that would bring "positive effects for Yazidis" on the ground.

Kurdish regional president Nechirvan Barzani thanked Germany for its "continued support" and encouraged other nations to take similar steps.