By Ezidi 24
1 August 2019 – Recalling the suffering of the Yazidis on the fifth anniversary of ISIL’s onslaught on Sinjar District, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, lamented the current failure to bring about stability in the area. Stressing that stability is crucial for the stricken community to return home and rebuild its life, she called on Baghdad and Erbil to urgently find solutions that put the needs of the people first.
Five years ago, Da’esh swept through the region in northern Iraq in a campaign of terror that spared no one, forcing entire villages to flee. The group killed and abducted thousands of unarmed Yazidi men, women and children – many of whom remain missing to this day. Today, several years after the liberation of Sinjar, the Yazidi homeland remains rife with instability and unacceptable living conditions.
Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert, who recently spoke out about the awful situation in Sinjar following a visit to the area, emphasized at today’s commemoration in Baghdad that the tragic suffering the community endured must not be forgotten. The best tribute to the victims, she said, is to ensure this does not happen again and that the survivors are given the opportunity to move on with their lives in safety, security and dignity.
In her remarks, the Special Representative recalled witnessing first-hand the shocking conditions of the Yazidi survivors, who continue to live in tents in inhumane conditions on the mountain they fled to. To stress her point, Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert will soon visit Sinjar again to meet with Yazidi survivors, show solidarity and follow up on efforts to restore normality to the area.
The Special Representative noted that the path towards lasting peace, development and prosperity is long and complex, but added that stable governance and security structures are a crucial first step that is still lacking years after the liberation of Sinjar.
“In memory of all victims and their loved ones, I would like to say to all those feeling challenged, including the authorities here in Baghdad as well as in Erbil: please, set aside your differences or partisan interests. And please, place – without any further delay – the needs of the people first.”
“It is our shared responsibility to memorialize the horrific and grave violations that may constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Yet this sacred memory must not be static: the most powerful form of remembrance is the one that compels us to act.”
The Special Representative added: “As we pay our tributes and honor the past – we must also look towards the future and thus take decisive action. Decisive action to facilitate and accelerate the reconstruction of affected areas, enabling the safe return of the people, as a very first priority to cope with deep tragedy.”