Rudaw

  In Rudaw 

Survivors of ISIS ask how long they must wait for reparations

Female survivors of the Islamic State group (ISIS) and their supporters gathered in Baghdad on Wednesday to ask the government why there is a delay in implementing a law passed more than half a year ago that provides reparations for those who suffered crimes of ISIS.

“Survivors have been waiting more than six months now for bylaws to be adopted for the implementation of the Yazidi Survivors’ Law,” legal advocacy director at the NGO Yazda Natalia Navrouzov told Rudaw’s Halkawt Aziz. “How long should they wait? That is the question we were basically asking the council of ministers today because the council of ministers is the entity that issues the bylaws.”

In the first legal recognition of the Yazidi genocide by the Iraqi government, the parliament passed a bill offering reparations to ISIS survivors on March 1, nearly two years after it was first introduced. The legislation guarantees employment opportunities for survivors by allocating them two percent of public sector jobs, along with a fixed salary and land. It also applies to other ethnic and religious minorities who suffered under ISIS, particularly Turkmen, Shabak, and Christians.

So far “it’s just ink on paper,” said Salwa Saydu Omar, a Yazidi survivor.

The press conference was held by the Coalition for Just Reparations (C4JR), an alliance of 32 Iraqi civil society organizations representing Iraq’s linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity and supporting reparation claims of survivors and other victims of crimes perpetrated during the conflict with ISIS.

C4JR raised concerns about draft regulations to implement the law, saying they lack clarity and fail to establish proper mechanism to receive and review claims.

“Delayed and ineffective implementation of the YSL [Yazidi Survivors’ Law] prolongs the agony and trauma of survivors, their families, and affected communities, who, once again, feel abandoned by the Iraqi government,” read C4JR’s statement to media.

Rudaw English has reached out to the council of ministers spokesperson for comment.

ISIS swept across Iraq and Syria in the summer of 2014. More than 6,000 Yazidis were kidnapped when ISIS attacked their heartland of Shingal in Nineveh province, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Office for Rescuing Kidnapped Yazidis. Over 2,000 remain missing. A United Nations-led investigation said it has found evidence ISIS committed genocide against the Yazidis.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s cabinet allocated five hundred million dinars to the General Directorate of Yazidi Survivor Affairs, his office said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Kurdistan Region is also working towards the recognition of the crimes committed by ISIS, spokesperson Jotiar Adil said earlier in June.