Thursday, August 3rd, University Ave, across the road from the US Consulate, 5-7 pm
Three years ago, August third, 2014, ISIS began a genocidal assault against the Yezidi people that is ongoing to this day. Thousands of men were murdered; thousands of women and girls captured, raped, made sex slaves or burned alive. Thousands more languish in refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Greece.
Located in Iraq, the Yezidi people numbered over 1,2 million. An ancient peaceful people, from northern Iraq, they have lived there for over 6,700 years. Today there are less than 600,000. More than 3,000 women and girls as young as eight, remain in captivity.
As freed Yezidi sex slave Nadia Murad watched from the gallery, the House of Commons voted unanimously on October 25, 2016 to acknowledge the genocide of the Yezidi nation and to offer a safe haven to women and girls by the end of February.
Although the Trudeau government has brought in 41,000 Syrians fleeing violence; only a few hundred Yezidis have arrived with government assistance. “The Yezidis, Chaldo Assyrian Christians, Mandeans and other minority groups should receive priority simply because they are the most persecuted and have nowhere else to go,” says Mirza Ismail, spokesman for the Yezidis and Chairman of the Yezidi Human Rights Organization International, who is spearheading the vigil.
In mid July, frail, dirty, blood encrusted, given up for dead, 12 year old Emad Mishko was found. He, his brother and father were separated from their mother Nofa and four siblings in August 2014 when the family was captured by ISIS. After two years in captivity, she with her four children escaped during an explosion caused by an air strike. They spent a year in a refugee camp in Iraq, before being brought to Canada as government sponsored refugees.
Overjoyed to find her son who she believed dead, she is waiting anxiously to be reunited with him.
“At the very least, the government should expedite reunification for the families,” Ismail said.
Although he has given evidence of the atrocities numerous times to government officials in Ottawa, and appeared before the Foreign Affairs Committee in the US, despite repeated attempts, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen continues to ignore Ismail’s request for meeting.
He has promised to bring in 1200 of these most vulnerable refugees by the end of the year. The Yezidis will be only a portion of this number.
John McCallum, his predecessor, also refused him a meeting, focusing only on the Syrian Muslims.
Will it be too little too late?
As one victim said, “If you can’t save us, please bomb us, as we can’t bear to live.”