“We are responsible for standing up to genocide, holding those responsible to account, recompensing the Yazidi people and preventing new genocides,” said the KJK, marking the anniversary of the ISIS genocide in Shengal.

KJK (Kurdistan Women’s Communities) Committee for Democratic Relations and Alliances released a statement marking the 9th anniversary of the 73rd genocide suffered by the Kurdish Yazidi community in their history at the hands of Turkish-backed ISIS in 2014.

“On the 9th anniversary of the genocide, let’s embrace Shengal together and hold the criminals to account,” said the KJK, demanding accountability from those responsible, effective international action for the liberation of Yazidi women and children who are still held in captivity and the recognition of genocide in international law.

The statement by KJK Committee for Democratic Relations and Alliances includes the following:

“Today, we commemorate the 9th anniversary of the 73rd Yazidi genocide, an action which took place on 3 August 2014 and whose memory still hangs in our minds as if it happened yesterday, not only with pain but also with the threat of the 74th onslaught and the will and hope of the Yazidis to resist. On this day, we salute the march for freedom led by Yazidi women, and we remember with gratitude our martyrs who paved the way for resistance and encouraged us in the struggle. Yazidi Kurds are a people and a community of religious beliefs who have managed to survive and preserve their faith and identities, culture, and existence despite being subjected to genocide 73 times in their history.  There is no other example of this in history. All tyrants, emperors, shahs and sultans who have tried this have failed. Because the Yazidis are the origin, the root of us Kurds, one of the most ancient peoples of these lands where humanity first stepped into settled life in history.

Because they are a society whose history extends far beyond the history of humanity’s state-dominated, exploitative, so-called civilisation, they have survived all these genocides and have shown the strength to keep their existence and values alive. It would not have been so easy to eliminate a society with such deep roots, its culture, beliefs and values of existence. No tyrant, shah, sultan or dictator has ever been able to erase such a deep-rooted historical social reality from the face of the earth.

Anyone who is concerned about the history of humanity knows that the Kurds are a society that resists every attack by the forces of civilisation by retreating to the depths of the mountains and rebuilding life in those mountains at the cost of secluding themselves from civilisation. These Kurds are the same Kurds. In other words, Yazidi Kurds.

The civilization of 21st century capitalist modernity must not have learnt anything from the horrific eradication attacks that even their most ancient and mighty ancestors could not achieve, because they thought that they could achieve this with the help of a reactionary gang like ISIS, which they invented and manufactured from scratch. The genocidal action in Shengal in August 2014 went down in history as the 73rd attack beyond savagery, which the whole world watched as the events unfolded before their eyes and without anyone lifting a finger.

The reactionary state powers such as Iran and Iraq, especially the anti-Kurdish Turkish state, on which ISIS depends and receives succour and strength, have directly and indirectly supported the development of this genocide. This included those responsible for the security of the area.

When ISIS attacked Sinjar, the collaborationist and treacherous KDP retreated without firing a shot, leaving hundreds of thousands of Yazidi Kurds, women, youth, elderly people and children utterly defenceless and at the mercy of ISIS. We all know the results. This rampageous, fundamentalist, misogynistic, murderous gang called ISIS massacred more than 5 thousand Yazidi Kurds in Sinjar, killing women, children, young and old alike. They kidnapped thousands of women and children, raped them and sold them as concubines in the slave markets they established. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee from this land which they have made their home since the beginning of history.

If the guerrilla had not responded, ISIS would have advanced enough to accomplish almost all of the tasks set before it by its masters.  With the historical intervention of a small contingent of HPG-YJA STAR guerrillas and YPG-YPJ fighters, hundreds of thousands of Yazidi Kurds were saved from massacre.  Once again, we commemorate with gratitude our martyrs who heroically resisted and achieved martyrdom in the liberation of Shengal on the 9th anniversary, and we utterly condemn the hated perpetrators of this genocide. 

Yazidi Kurds retreated to the depths of the mountains of Kurdistan, especially the mountain of Sinjar, as they have done in the face of every onslaught in history. Tens of thousands of them had to migrate to northern and southern Kurdistan and Rojava.  The speedy rescue by the guerrillas brought them to safety. They embraced the guerrillas and sent their sons and daughters to fight alongside them. With the strength and morale it received from the guerrillas, the Yazidi community built its own self-defence force, the YBŞ-YJŞ, and established its own self-governing parliament, where representatives elected by the people could gather and declare that it has the power to preserve its existence, culture, beliefs and ethnic identity alive despite the nation states of the world and the region. We salute this historical struggle of our people of Sinjar and our women against the threat of genocide and their construction of self-government and self-defence.

Nothing has unfolded as the oppressors imagined and planned. They could neither cleanse Sinjar of Yazidi Kurds nor win their religious wars. The winner in Shengal was the Yazidi Kurds who resisted side by side with the guerrillas.

Unable to stomach the fact that Yazidi Kurds survived these genocidal attacks from the monstrous forces of ISIS, that they resisted and won, and built their own self-defence and self-government institutions, the US, Iraq and the Turkish state and their collaborators in southern Kurdistan, the KDP, declared the 74th Edict with the 9 October 2020 Shengal agreement. There is no doubt that this agreement is a new edict. These forces continue to attack the Yazidi Kurds on all fronts in order to render them defenceless, powerless and without freedom once again.  As the main force behind this 74th onslaught, the invading, expansionist, colonialist, fascist Turkish state is attacking almost every other day with drone attacks, Iraq with land harassment, threats of invasion and blackmail, and the KDP with provocative operations. On this 9th anniversary of the genocide, we condemn these forces that attempt to destroy the resistance of the Yazidi women and people, and on this occasion, we call on the international powers to do their duty. During this period, a few states have recognised the ISIS attack on Sinjar as an act of genocide. This position should be taken as a precedent by other states. Again, we demand that the countries which have recognised the genocide now take responsibility for holding the forces responsible for the attacks to follow up on this correct decision they adopted.

Five thousand people have been brutally massacred, 80 mass graves have been identified, nearly ten thousand Sinjar people have been kidnapped, thousands of captive women and children are still not heard from, twenty-five thousand people are still exposed to living in the most terrible living conditions as refugees far from their homes, Sinjar, whose entire infrastructure collapsed during the war, has not been rebuilt, the most basic needs of the people for education, healthcare, worship areas have been destroyed. While all that has occurred is clearly in view, it is an affront to humanity that countries such as Turkey and Iraq are putting a new attack strategy into action.

Nine years have passed since the genocide, when up to 400 thousand people were displaced from their homes and only tens of thousands have been able to return. Hundreds of thousands are still in camps and tents, thousands were massacred. Thousands are still lying in mass graves. In the face of all this, the international powers remain silent. When Sinjar was liberated from ISIS in October 2015, the international community promised assistance for the rebuilding of Sinjar city centre. These promises to the Yazidi Kurds, whose only wish was to live freely and humanely in their land, were either forgotten or not fulfilled. There are still nearly 3,000 women and children from Shengal held by these criminal gangs waiting to be rescued, a fact which continues to shame the humanity of the world. Although nine years have passed, no group responsible for the genocide has been prosecuted, the criminals have not been identified and legal and political processes have not been carried out.

On this 9th anniversary of the genocide, we state that the international powers and public opinion are also responsible for the fact that the forces whose role in the genocide is clear have not been held to account. We should never forget that we are responsible for standing up to genocide, holding those responsible to account, recompensing the Yazidi people and preventing new genocides.

Therefore, we call on all forces to take responsibility for acknowledging these incidents as genocide and we demand accountability from those responsible, to carry out effective international action for the liberation of Yazidi women and children who are still held in captivity and that the genocide be recognized in international law.

Again, as women, it is necessary to raise the universal struggle everywhere to prevent the repetition of this inhuman genocide, which is the result of sexist, nationalist, sectarian and religious ideologies. We must understand that this inhuman attack on Yazidi women as an attack on all women and we must see it as our duty to build universal women’s solidarity. In order to prevent the repetition of these attacks, which are the product of the male mind, we must develop a universal network of struggle that brings about the radical transformation of the patriarchal system.

On this occasion, we respectfully commemorate the martyrs Jiyan, Barin and Roj, the YPJ commanders who were killed as a result of the drone attack of the fascist misogynistic Turkish state in Rojava on 22 July.

We call on all women to unite and increase the common struggle against the male-dominated system that imposes genocide and massacres on women, will not permit their organisation, and inflicts punishment on women through reactionary laws and death.”