Iraq Passes New Law to Help ISIS Genocide Survivors

On March 1, 2021, the Iraqi parliament adopted the Yazidi law [Female] Survivors Bill, a law designed to provide assistance to survivors of Daesh atrocities. In 2014, Daesh, a terrorist organization, unleashed genocidal atrocities against religious minorities: Yazidis, Christians and others.

One of its biggest attacks began on August 3, 2014. On that day, Daesh launched a violent attack against the Yazidis in Sinjar. Daesh fighters have killed hundreds if not thousands of men. As part of the same campaign, Daesh fighters abducted boys and turned them into child soldiers, women and girls for the purpose of sexual slavery. More than 3,000 women and girls are still missing and their fate is unknown. A few days after the attack on Sinjar, Daesh also attacked the plains of Nineveh and forced more than 120,000 people to flee for their lives in the middle of the night. Atrocities are qualified as genocide. Daesh provoked this genocide through murders, slavery, deportation and forcible transfer of populations, imprisonment, torture, kidnapping of women and children, exploitation, abuse, rape, sexual violence – relentlessly. ISIS has specifically targeted religious minorities, including Muslim minorities, for destruction in an attempt to annihilate religious pluralism and establish a purely Islamic region, in accordance with its perverse interpretation of what this would entail.

The recently adopted bill aims to provide assistance to

“1. Every Yazidis [female] survivor kidnapped by Daesh and subsequently released.

2.women and girls of the components (Turkmen, Christians, Shabak) who suffered the same crimes mentioned in article 1 [ namely, every woman or girl who has been subjected to crimes of sexual violence from her kidnapping, sexual slavery, selling her in slavery markets, separating her from her family, forcing her to change her religion, forced marriage, pregnancy and forced abortion or inflicting physical and psychological harm to her by [Daesh] since the date [August 3, 2014] and was subsequently released].

3. Surviving Yazidi children who were under the age of eighteen at the time of their abduction.

4. Yazidi, Turkmen, Christian and Shabak survivors of the massacres and mass elimination perpetrated by [Daesh] in their fields.

This law aims to provide survivors with compensation to guarantee them “a decent life”. The law further seeks to ensure that survivors receive rehabilitation and any other assistance necessary to help them integrate into society and prevent repetition of violations.

In addition to prescribing assistance to survivors of Daesh atrocities, the bill defines the atrocities perpetrated by Daesh against the Yazidis, Turkmens, Christians and Shabaks as genocide and crimes against humanity. In addition, it recognizes August 3 as a national day of remembrance for the victims and survivors of atrocities. Finally, the bill stresses the need to prosecute the perpetrators of atrocities who will not benefit from the amnesty.

Welcoming the bill, Nadia Mourad, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and UNODC Goodwill Ambassador, said: “[the] Passing the Iraqi Yazidi Survivors Bill is an important first step in recognizing the gender-based trauma of sexual violence and the need for tangible redress. The implementation of the law should focus on the comprehensive support and sustainable reintegration of survivors. The bill is an important step towards assistance and justice for survivors of the Daesh atrocities – assistance and justice that have been neglected for too long.

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