International Children’s Day (June 1)

German Bundestag should show more commitment to Yazidi children!

On the occasion of International Children’s Day (June 1), the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), calls on the German Bundestag to show more commitment for Yazidi children. Almost 10 years after the genocide against the Yazidi people, the situation in northern Iraq is still precarious. More than 200,000 Yazidis are living in camps for internally displace persons. “In the refugee camps in northern Iraq, Yazidi children grow up without any perspective. Many of them were born in the camps and don’t even know Sinjar, their traditional settlement area. They are losing their roots and part of their identity. The international community must not allow this to happen, as this is partly what the so-called “Islamic State” wanted and still is trying to achieve,” stated Tabea Giesecke, expert on ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities and nationalities.

In January 2023, the German Bundestag acknowledged that IS committed against the Yazidis are to be seen as crimes of genocide – promising to “place emphasis on the protection of Yazidi life in Germany and their human rights all over the world”. “Now, the Bundestag must stick to its promise and show more commitment for protecting the minority group, in Iraq and in Germany. A nationwide deportation stop is urgently needed to ensure that the number of Yazidis living in precarious conditions in northern Iraq will not go up. Yazidi children need a secure future,” Giesecke demanded. “The so-called Islamic State tried – and is still trying – to wipe out the Yazidi people,” the expert warned.  

Reports from the camps for internally displaced persons show that the humanitarian situation in northern Iraq is catastrophic: Many refugees live in tens that hardly offer any protection from the cold. Fires frequently break out in the camps, and medical care is insufficient. “In these conditions, children have no opportunity to grow up properly. There is a lack of access to adequate schooling. Also, many children are deeply traumatized. However, they lack the opportunity to process these traumas,” Giesecke said.

Although more than ten years have passed since the genocide, the Yazidi people can still not return to their traditional settlement areas. The region is still bombed out, and there is no infrastructure. “To date, Yazidis are still in immediate danger in northern Iraq. Various conflict parties are fighting in the region – and there are ongoing drone attacks on the region, by order of the Turkish government. Structural oppression and discrimination of the Yazidi people are still commonplace, also in the autonomous region of Kurdistan,” Giesecke explained.