Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights hosted a public event Nov. 19, "Yezidi Woman Reports on Genocide by ISIS," featuring Pari Ibrahim, founder of the Free Yezidi Foundation, with David Sklar, an advisor to Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Ibrahim described the fall of the Yazidi town of Sinjar to ISIS in June, the populace taken unawares and largely unarmed. Many of the town's men were summarily killed, while women and children were taken away to be trafficked as sex slaves for Arab buyers. Ibrahim charged President Obama with responding too slowly, despite pleas from Yazidi leaders. "There was a genocide by ISIS in Sinjar, but the world did not react sooner."
Ibrahim took issue with the mass media portrayal of US air-strikes as playing the biggest role in driving back ISIS in northern Iraq, as opposed to fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and its allied People's Protection Units (YPG). Ibrahim said those two organizations were critical in allowing the evacuation of displaced Yazidis trapped by ISIS forces on Mount Sinjar, the range overlooking the town. "Yazidi people in Sinjar were very happy that the YPG helped them," saving many lives, she said. But she emphasized that the Sinjar genocide has left Yazidis with personal and collective trauma, especially to children.
Ibrahim concluded her talk by describing the work of her Netherlands-based foundation in raising awareness about the Yazidi people, and to open post-trauma centers for Yazidi children who have survived rape and genocide. She urged support for these efforts from activists in the West.
Sklar in his comments said he believed that the White House is now ready to work with Yazidis in restoring security in northern Iraq.
—Ayumila Hilai on the scene, for World War 4 Report