Iraq Begins Exhuming Mass Grave in Sinjar Region

Iraq Begins Exhuming Mass Grave in Sinjar Region

The Nobel Peace Prize 2018, Nadia Murad, Yazidi native of Kocho, who was present at the opening of the pit in the middle of a large security device, said that the town was one of the “first places that suffered the genocide” of a group that in August 2014 killed and kidnapped thousands of Yazidis, including her.

Murad wished that Sinyar was the starting point to achieve peace throughout Iraq. For her part, Sara Hasan Jalaf, 31, a Yazidi who collaborates with the team in charge of the exhumation of the bodies, was not optimistic.

The buried victims “are from Kocho, among them Said Yazaa Abu Nuri, his son Nuri, Sabah and Diar, all friends of our family who were executed by the terrorist organization here in this town where more than 1,700 people lived,” Sara recalled.

According to his account, the EI executed 334 men between 15 and 75 years old, after separating them from local women. Then, he added, “he took 72 young women and girls from the village, whom he executed and buried in a common grave.”

But on this very symbolic day many relatives of the victims did not attend, only about a hundred people, because “the Yazidis do not trust the Government or the organizations of the UN,” Sara said.

“Have our rights and our victims returned to us?” No, everything remains the same, “she said, adding that there are dozens of mass graves in the areas of Hardan, Jansur, Sinyar, Al Qahtaniya and Al Wariya.

A member of the Iraqi Supreme Human Rights Commission, Fateh Abdelwahed al-Half, expressed his confidence that “the graves of the innocent Yazidis will be the witness and the evidence of the crimes of the IS”.

Speaking to Efe, he urged the head of the UN investigation team on those crimes, Karim Khan, to include the photos of the EI’s brutality against Yazidi women and children in the report that the international organization is preparing.

That team collaborates with the Iraqi authorities to investigate and document the atrocities committed by the jihadists, assist the survivors and ensure that the law of the country is complied with and that the crimes committed in their territory are punished.

The UN announced last November that 202 mass graves with the remains of thousands of people had been found so far in areas of Iraq that were under the yoke of IS between 2014 and 2017.

Khan called today a “great event” because it is the beginning of accountability and expressed his admiration for the “patience and courage” of the Yazidis who survived the massacre and now demand justice.

The UN expert said that “words can not describe what happened” to this ancestral community whose religion is based on Zoroastrianism.

Khan informed that the governmental institutions will help the transfer of the remains that will be extracted from the mass grave, where there are hundreds of bodies.

In this way, it will be possible to honor a part of the Yazidi victims, although these are counted by thousands after the ISIS carried out what the UN has called genocide.

In August 2014, some 5,000 men were killed and nearly 7,000 women and children abducted, while hundreds or thousands – the number is unknown – died of hunger and thirst as they were surrounded for days by IS and a total of 300,000 were seen displaced from their homes.

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