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Yazidis, Targeted for Genocide by ISIS, Attacked in Refugee Camps by Muslim Refugees, by Doris Strub Epstein

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July 12, 2016

“This does not get into the news”

The humanitarian tragedy that began in August 2014 with the killing of thousands of Yazidis by ISIS,  continues in refugee camps where, instead of a safe haven, Yazidis are being attacked by other refugees who are Muslims.

Even in Greece, Yazidis are not safe.  In the Skaramangis refugee camp, on the evening of June 23d, Syrian, Kurdish and Afgani Muslims , fellow refugees in the camp, raised the ISIS flag and attacked the approximately 700 Yazidis.  They came at them with knives and metal bars.  Defending themselves against the onslaught and attempting to protect the children and old people, many young men were injured, 18 hospitalized.

The authorities, the Greek police, camp leaders and UN officials did not respond until the next day.  The reason, said Mirza Ismail, Chairperson Yazidi Human Rights Organization International,  is that the camp officials are Muslims.

According to Ismail, the same thing happened in camp Katsikas.  Approximately 250 fled the Muslim “terrorists” and were finally helped by the Greek authorities who put them in a safe building.  “For how long will they be safe?”, asks Ismail.

“Add the Leros refugee camp, where a attack occurred just two days ago,” said Steve Maman, founder and head of CYCI, the Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq, a Montreal based organization that has helped free hundreds of girls and women from sex enslavement by ISIS.  They recently established and run a Yazidi only refugee camp in Petra, with 1400 people.  The Greek Government and army supports them.

“It’s a well known fact – the Muslims are terribly biased and aggressive toward Yazidis, ” Maman said.   “In  all the  refugee camp they are victimized –  stabbings, rapes, violence … They are scapegoats for all their problems. It’s also a well known fact that there are many ISIS among them.  This -the camp attacks – does not get into the news.”

In June, Foreign Minister Stephan Dion, finally declared that ISIS is waging a genocide against the Yazidis, Christians and other minorities in northern Iraq.  “It took two years to come to this point,” said Ismail, even though ISIS did everything openly, killing the men, kidnapping the women to be used as sex slaves.”

As of May 29, fulfilling an election promise, the Liberal government has brought 27,580 Syrians to Canada. Only nine Yazidi applicants have been processed despite the atrocities committed against them.  With nowhere to run, hundreds have drowned trying to flee Turkey to get to Greece.

“The Canadian government said they are bringing in the most vulnerable refugees to Canada,” said Ismail.   “Who could be more vulnerable than the Yazidis?  In Turkey they are being attacked in refugee camps. In Syrian camps – (they have been attacked for) two years.  And now (they are being attacked) in Greece which is not even a Muslim country.”

With the official government recognition of genocide, Canada’s refugee policy should be restructured, said Geoffrey Clarfield, the executive director of the human rights organization Mozuud.  He advocates at least  immigration equality:  Ottawa should match the 25,000 Syrian refugees already accepted, by sponsoring an additional 25,000 Yazidis, Christians and other minorities targeted by ISIS for genocide.

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