Germany: Bundestag recognizes 2014 massacre of Yazidis as genocide
The massacre of thousands of Yazidis in 2014 by the Islamic State (ISIS) was recognized as genocide by the German lawmakers on Thursday. The resolution also called for measures to assist the Yazidi people.
The Bundestag "recognizes the crimes against the Yazidi community as genocide, following the legal evaluations of investigators from the United Nations," the resolution said, after similar moves by countries including Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The resolution condemned "indescribable atrocities" and "tyrannical injustice" carried out by ISIS "with the intention of completely wiping out the Yazidi community," as it urged the German judiciary to pursue further criminal cases against suspects in Germany and the government to increase financial support to collect evidence of crimes in Iraq and boost funding to help rebuild shattered Yazidi communities.
It also called for Germany to establish a documentation center for crimes against Yazidis to ensure a historical record and to press Baghdad to protect the minority group's rights.
2014 attack on Yazidi homeland
Thousands of Yazidis were killed and thousands of Yazidi women and children were enslaved by ISIS who attacked Yazidi homeland Sinjar (Shengal) in August 2014, and the attack also resulted in the displacement of the Yazidi people living in the towns and villages south of Mount Sinjar.
Nearly half a million people fled, left defenseless against the attackers as the peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraqi troops withdrew, and tens of thousands of Yazidis took refuge in Mount Sinjar. The initial rescue efforts were led by the fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Northern Syria and a handful of Kurdish fighters affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Tens of thousands Yazidis still live in refugee camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and other areas.
Post ISIS attacks on Sinjar by Turkey
After the territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Sinjar has continued to be targeted in attacks by the Turkish military.
The Sinjar Defense Units (YBS), a Yazidi self defense force that emerged in 2007 to protect Yazidis in the wake of attacks by Sunni Islamist groups and which played an important role in the resistance against ISIS, is accused by Turkish officials of being affiliated with the PKK, designated a "terrorist group" by Ankara.
A 2021 report by the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) documented the death of at least 33 people between 2017-2021 in aerial attacks carried out by Turkey, noting that there has been no international monitoring on these attacks.
Nadine Maenza, the Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), strongly crticized Turkey in August 2021, saying:
"USCIRF urges Turkey to cease these attacks in northern Iraq that endanger Yazidis and other religious communities, preventing refugees and internally displaced people from returning to their homes. We urge the US government to condemn Turkey’s actions."
The Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking endogamous minority group, follow an ancient religion rooted in Zoroastrianism, which is considered heresy by jihadist groups like ISIS.