Bundestag votes for resolution: persecution of Yazidis recognized as genocide

Status: 01/19/2023 2:58 p.m

From 2014, the terrorist militia “Islamic State” killed thousands of Yazidis in northern Iraq. The Bundestag has now recognized this as genocide. MEPs unanimously voted in favor of the resolution presented by Traffic Light and the Union.

The Bundestag has recognized the systematic persecution and murder of Yazidis in northern Iraq by the terrorist militia “Islamic State” (IS) as genocide. The deputies voted unanimously for the resolution presented jointly by the traffic light groups and the CDU/CSU.

The Bundestag is thus the first parliament of a large European state to recognize the atrocities committed against the Yazidis in 2014 as genocide. “The German Bundestag bows to the victims of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by IS,” the resolution reads.

The parliament recognizes that the crimes of the IS militia “are a matter of genocide within the meaning of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”.

Killed, enslaved and raped

Since August 2014, thousands of Yazidis have been expelled, enslaved or murdered by IS from their homes in the Sinjar Mountains in northern Iraq. Women and children were systematically raped and sold. An estimated 5000 people were murdered.

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) said that the decision of the Bundestag was also the acceptance of the order to search for those who are still missing and abducted. Observers assume that around 3,000 Yazidis are still being held by IS fighters or are missing. “We cannot reverse the genocide, but we can ensure that the victims receive justice so that the genocide is not inherited,” Baerbock said.

In Germany “largest Yazidi diaspora worldwide”

Speakers from all factions spoke out in favor of continuing to grant Yazidis asylum protection in Germany. At the same time, the return of refugees to their homeland should be made possible and families should be reunited. Promoting educational and research offers and setting up an archive and documentation center is also a concern.

“The largest Yazidi diaspora in the world lives in Germany,” the Bundestag stated in its resolution. “The important thing is their life in self-determination.” The diaspora is part of German society. The Bundestag will work emphatically to protect Yazidi life in Germany.

The MPs also made a number of demands on the Federal Government in this regard. The legal investigation and the prosecution of IS perpetrators in Germany should continue to be “consistently” carried out and expanded, it said. They also called for, among other things, to speak out for reforms to Iraqi criminal law, support in the search for “abducted women, children and relatives who are still missing” and help with the reconstruction of the destroyed towns and villages, it said.

The Yazidi Central Council expresses its satisfaction

The Central Council of Yazidis in Germany spoke of a historic day. “We did it,” it said on Twitter. Now the Sinjar region must be rebuilt quickly, said the chairwoman of the council, Zemfira Dlovani, on Facebook. Yazidis “do not belong in tents or camps, they belong in their homeland.” According to international observers, around 300,000 Yazidis are currently living in refugee camps, in some cases in desolate conditions.

The approved bill is not legally binding. However, the Bundestag is taking a clear historical position and is addressing political demands to the Federal Government. The factions of the Left and AfD, which were not involved in drafting the resolution, also voted in favor. Before the Bundestag, the parliaments of the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia had already recognized the acts of violence against the Yazidis as genocide.

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