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LONDON: The producers of a new documentary they describe as the first of its kind to shed light on the precarious conditions in which Yazidis continue to live in Iraq’s Sinjar district, announced the release of their film on Tuesday.
‘This Is Still Genocide’ follows the efforts of Yazidi survivors and other community members still struggling to rebuild their lives after an August 2014 massacre in which Daesh forces killed and abducted thousands. , Yazidi women and children.
The short film, directed by Mohamad Chreyteh, was commissioned, funded and co-produced by social investment platform The Zovighian Partnership.
Lynn Zovighian, the organization’s co-founder and chief executive, told Arab News: “On the eighth (anniversary) of the Kocho massacre, which marked the killing of more than 400 Yazidi men and the abduction of many women and children, I am very humbled and truly honored to announce the launch of “This Is Still Genocide”, the first Yazidi-led documentary short.
“I believe it was imperative that we co-create a Yazidi public advocacy asset that focuses on the voices of survivors to drive national and international accountability for Sinjar and all Sinjaris.”
The documentary was made possible with the help of Yazda, a Yazidi community group that helped the filmmakers gain the support and participation of the Yazidi people and encouraged them to share their stories and document the experiences of the community at eight years after the massacre. .
Yazidis are a religious minority originating from Kurdistan, a geographical region in Western Asia. A majority of the roughly 1 million Yazidis living in northern Iraq have long been persecuted for their faith, which combines Islamic beliefs with elements of Zoroastrianism, which has its roots in ancient Persia, and Mithraism. , a mystical religion originating in the eastern Mediterranean. Region.
In 2014, Daesh carried out a massacre targeting the Yazidi people, in which 5,000 people were killed, thousands of women and children were forced into sexual slavery and 500,000 people fled their homeland.
The documentary reveals how, due to the precarious socio-economic conditions of the region and the lack of action by the Iraqi government and the international community, the city of Sinjar and the surrounding towns and villages have become dangerous for the Yazidi communities living there. lived historically. .
“Today, everything is urgent, from security and representation in Sinjar to infrastructure, housing, basic services, economic redevelopment, education, health and ending the permanence of the camps of displaced people,” said Zovighian.
The documentary highlights the atrocities committed by Daesh and investigates the obstruction of justice for the Yazidi people, and calls on the international community to act.
Chief Investigating Judge Ayman Mustapha, commenting on the Iraqi government’s lack of a national plan to coordinate the investigation into the massacre, said: “The mission of the investigative commission is to gather evidence, investigate and to mount files. However, no judicial body exists to bring these cases to court.
Haider Elias, co-founder and president of Yazda, said at the film’s premiere, “To the international community: we need your support more than any other community and more than at any time. We ask for your help; either help the Yazidis stay and resettle them in their homes, or help us leave this country.
Murad Ismael, co-founder of Yazda and founder of Sinjar Academy, which aims to help communities recover through quality education, said, “This is a powerful documentary depicting the state of the community Yezidi eight years after the start of the genocide. It left me in tears and will probably do the same to you.
“But we must not turn a blind eye to a people who are suffering collectively. It is necessary to tell this story once again because the world has moved on, while the Yazidi community cannot. »