Yazidi Refugee Says Only Way to Save Yazidi Girls is to Buy Them

Conatus News asked a Yazidi refugee in Iraq what the international community should do to help Yazidis.

Delir Osman was 15 when ISIS invaded his village of Till-Qasab, located in Iraqi Kurdistan, in 2014.

Osman, a Yazidi, fled with his family to hide in a deserted house in the Sinjar mountains with several other Yazidis for eight days.

While hiding, they did not have adequate food or water. One of Osman’s cousins died of thirst.

After eight days, Osman and his family were rescued by the Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG). They then emigrated to Syria, and then back to Iraq.

Khalif and his family now live in an abandoned school in Sulaymaniyah, in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Diler Osman, a Yazidi refugee.

Despite hardship, Osman, now 18, continued his studies. He plans to attend a high school in Italy in order to obtain an International Baccalaureate diploma.

Conatus News asked Osman what the international community could do to better the situation for Yazidis.

Conatus News: What should the international community do to rescue the approximately 3,000 Yazidi women and girls who remain held captive?

Osman: It was previously easier. Women were detained groups and their liberation was easy. But now the situation is very bad.

All the Yazidi women were sold. Some of them were sold to countries outside of Iraq and Syria, such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and other countries.

The Yazidis are now buying back their women at high prices. All this money is paid by the Yazidis. This is very difficult.

A few days ago, the man offered to sell his kidney in order to buy back his daughter. It is very dangerous.

The escape routes are very difficult. The only thing the world can do to free Yazidi women is to buy them. But no one does this.

Conatus News: What should the Iraqi government do for Yazidis?

Osman: The situation is very bad- three years of displacement.

Yazidis do not want humanitarian aid anymore.

Tens of millions of dollars were paid to help Yazidis, but the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government did not give anything to help them.

There are camps without electricity and potable water.

Currently, some Yazidis want to return to Sinjar, but political and military conflicts there prevent this.

There are different Kurdish and Shiite forces in the area. Sinjar is now divided into three parts.

The North-Western part is controlled by PKK forces. And the North-East part is controlled by the forces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The southern part is controlled by Shiite forces.

Among these forces there are big conflicts. These problems led to clashes between these forces. And Yazidis are afraid of this. They cannot go back to a divided city into three areas. We cannot go back to Sinjar without the end of these military and political conflicts.

Yazidis want to have careers. Some Yazidis want to emigrate outside Iraq. Others want a place to live in Iraq that’s safe.

For more information, please contact Nareen Shammo, an activist raising funds to buy back Yazidi women. Also visit the most respected organisation for Yazidi rights at https://www.yazda.org/ 

Tara is a journalist and campaigner based in San Francisco, US

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