Freedom Struggle of Ezidi Women’ on 22 September 2019 In Batman together with women’s rights activists, feminists
The Platform for Struggle for Women Held in Captivity held a workshop named ‘the 73rdFerman and the Freedom Struggle of Ezidi Women’ on 22 September 2019 In Batman together with women’s rights activists, feminists, initiatives and representatives of various organisations. We,hereby, bring the declaration of the workshop to the attention of press and public:
Ezidis, who are one of the most ancient inhabitants of the Middle East, have been living in their homeland Sinjar, and surrounding areas, speaking their own mother tongue and practicing their monotheistic religion for tens of thousands of years. These Kurdish people, who follow Ezidi religion, have been subject to genocidal attacks to which they refer to as ‘ferman’ for 73 times. The latest genocidal attack against them was perpetrated by ISIS on 3 August 2014 in Sinjar. The reasons Ezidis refer to such genocidal attacks, that embody various forms of crimes against humanity, as ‘ferman’ is because the word means ‘the order of the sultan’ and this should be understood as an attempt to convey that they are subject to such treatment on the basis of colonialist perceptions of those that do not consider Ezidis as ‘citizens’.
It has transpired that the events of 3rd of August in 2014 were the 73rd genocide of Ezidis, the same day more than two hundred people were displaced and as it was recorded at the first hours of the day by the cameras of the journalists, in front of the whole world’s eyes, all children between the ages of roughly 9 and 18 were “missing”.
As stated by the report of the special UN commission published in June 2016, beyond a massacre, the crime of genocide was committed against Ezidis through various methods including sexual slavery, enslavement,forcible transfer,torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, rape and impregnation as defined in the Rome Statute. Hoping that the attack, which can be defined as the first genocide of the 21st century, will come to an end, as women who are determined to continue the women’s freedom struggle, we reiterate our call once again to all women of the world, wherever they are, about taking a common stance on this issue until all perpetrators are tried and all those that are responsible are punished accordingly.
- On 3 August 2014, as a consequence of the ISIS attack in Sinjar, around seven thousand women were captured and they were subjected to gender based, gender specific violence. The fates of around three thousand women are still unknown.
- Ezidi men and women aged above 40 were subjected to mass killings, as uncovered by the mass graves discovered in time.
- As a consequence of the ISIS attack, around 250,000 Ezidis who had to flee their homes, were forcibly displaced.
- In light of the various interviews conducted by our platform with Ezidi women, both in their homelands and also in various parts of the world where they were forcibly displaced, as well as various documents and reports published, it has been ascertained that ISIS has sought to destroy the Ezidi community as a whole, it has systematically carried out gender specific and gender based persecution against women amongst other genocidal policies. As it is in all wars and genocides, besides the mass rape of women and children, enslavement of all members of a family, all forms of abuse and attacks were realisedthrough women.
- Although women, who were captured and were subsequently liberated, can continue their lives, they are not accepted in their societies with their children that were born of genocide rape. When the statements of Ezidi religious representatives are taken into account, it is apparent that the underlying reasons of this issue include current laws of Iraq, applicable in places mainly inhabited by Ezidis, as well as social norms and oppression. According to Iraqi laws, all children are assigned a religious affiliation at birth in line with the religion of the men, even in cases a child was conceived through rape. The problems this may give rise to within the Ezidi community should be noticed. The problem should immediately be solved through an amendment based on women’s statements that shall depart from patrilineal descent system.
- Many women who did not want to separate from their children, to whom they gave birth during captivity, are isolated from their own communities through either being forced remain in camps where ISIS members are being detained or fleeing to countries though resettlement programs or other means.
- Taking women, who used to be held in captivity, to or resettling them in the western countries or endure heavy psychological and physical problems as a result of rape, enslavement, forced conversions and various other similar practices have the effect of alienating them from their own communities which in return prolongs their traumas and hinders their healing process.
- Many Ezidis, who are forced to flee to different parts of the world, including Europe, Australia and Canada, seeking international protection, live in inhumane conditions in camps and their rights to education in mother tongue and educate theirchildren according to their convictions and appropriate housing is being violated. As their ties with the geographical area where they sustain their cultural heritage and beliefs are being severed, Ezidis are subjected to cultural genocide under the name of ‘integration’.
- Testimonies of thousands of perpetrations captured by forces fighting ISIS, mass graves, documents such as autopsy reports have exposed that this genocide took place due to actions or inaction of the international powers and international community, perpetrators include those who had joined the jihadist gang like organisation from Europe and various other parts of the world, and logistic and financial support to this group was provided by neighbouring countries. The places of habitual residence of Ezidis, a considerable number of whom also reside in Afrin, were plundered, their properties were confiscated, their places of worship were destroyedand they were forcibly displaced. The conflicts that were conducted by the jihadist gang like organisation also turned all beliefs and identities, including Ezidis’, into targets.
- Ensuring that all aspects of this crime against humanity against Ezidis and all women held in captivity by ISIS is brought into light and justice is served, it is imperative that these crimes are unequivocally defined and all responsible parties, including those who didn’t fulfil their obligation of protecting Ezidi community, supported ISIS, are brought in front of an independent international court. If these crimes go unpunished, the bodies and entities that committed them would be encouraged and peoples will become targets again.
- Following the genocide and crimes against humanity perpetrated in Rwanda and Yugoslavia, ad hoctribunals have been established in order to prosecute individuals for crimes under international law. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was also the first institution to recognise rape as a means of perpetrating genocide.Subsequently, sexual and gender-based acts were extensively enumerated as crimes within the context of international criminal law in the Rome Statute. In 2016, in the Bemba case the ICC convicted sexual violence crimes, including rape, as war crimes andcrimes against humanity.
- The United Nations has the responsibility to bring the Ezidi genocide in light with all its aspect. We urge the U.N. Security Council to refer the issue to the International Criminal Court for prosecution and ensure that the judicial process is initiated in an appropriate place before the international criminal court.
- The Ezidi genocide, amounts fundamentally to femicide that is a special form of genocide. In this respect,women all around the world should intervene as the aim of the crime is complete destruction of a group trough perpetrating assaults including systematic rape, enslavement, and tortureagainst women. Thus, using this opportunity, we would like to reiterate our call upon all women’s organisations in various part of the world to carry out a common struggle to deal with the effects of this genocide.
- Women should be present in the judicial steps that shall be taken in the regional and international level. This is particularly important because when crimes against humanity are perpetrated women are almost always targeted. Thus, it is very important for purposes of exposing sexist, patriarchal ideologies. To this end, setting up women’s courts should be considered.
- Parliaments of individual countries should put this issue on their agenda with a view to recognise it as genocide in their respective countries. Thus, all national and international civil society organisations should make all necessary attempts to this end. Most importantly, it should be remembered that criminal prosecutions constitutes an important aspect of dealing with these crimes and policies taken against impunity.
- Women’s organisations, organisations of legal professionals and especially bar associations in the region and all around the world should take responsibility to this end, and take steps to establish a commission and consider setting up an international working group.
- 3rd of August should be recognised as the ‘International Day of Action against Genocide and Femicide’ .
- We believe that women from Turkey will respond to our call for common struggle with the slogan ‘we shall put an end to femicide, we shall liberate life’ positively and will also say no to the disregarded, dark face of genocide that is being avoided and that does not want to be reminded about.
PLATFORM FOR STRUGGLE FOR WOMEN HELD IN CAPTIVITY
Members of the Platform for Struggle for Women Held in Captivity
Association of Legal Professionals for Freedom
Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
Free Women’s Platform
Democratic Society Congress
Diyarbakir Bar Association
Rosa Women’s Association
Mersin Free Women’s Platform
Democratic Alevi Association
Democratic Islam Congresses
Iki Kopru Municipality
People’s Democratic Party
Women’s Solidarity Foundation
BatmanFree Women’s Platform