In a meeting hosted by the Yazidi autonomous territory of Ezidikhan in northern Iraq last month, representatives of tribal peoples and ethnic minorities from across the Middle East and North Africa agreed on a framework for a region-wide alliance of stateless nations struggling for self-determination and autonomy. The meeting at the Ezidikhan seat of Shingal (also rendered Sinjar) was attended by representatives of the Mandaeans and Zoroastrians as well as Yazidis. Messages of support were also sent by the Shabaks of Iraq, Ahwazi Arabs of Iran, Berbers of Libya, and Palestinian Bedouins residing in the state of Israel. Delegates announced formation of a Confederation of Indigenous Nations of the Middle East open to all stateless peoples of the region. “We are are expecting even more indigenous nations to sign on,” said Ezidikhan Minister of Justice Nallein Sowilo. She noted that the Kawliya and Yarsanis, whose territory is divided between Iraq and Iran, have also expressed interest in joining. “We are all natural allies. That is why we call this an alliance of First Peoples. We represent the Middle East’s ancient heritage of ethnic and religious diversity.”
“Ezidikhan is firmly committed to serve justice to all victims of genocide, whether they are Yezidis or indigenous minorities of whatever nation,” Sowilo declared at the conclusion of the conference. “This idea came to me on the very day of the ISIS attack on Ezidikhan on Aug. 3, 2014.” For the following 16 months that ISIS occupied Ezidikhan, Yazidis were subject to genocide and slavery.
Under the new Shingal Treaty, the Confederation pledges to seek greater recognition for stateless peoples of the Middle East at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. “Foremost in everyone’s mind was how to obtain justice for wrongs including the genocidal policies of nation states,” said Sowilo. “On behalf of this Confederation, Ezidikhan will begin to raise these issues at international forums, including the United Nations.”
Condensed from Ezidikhan.net, Sept. 16
Photo of Yazidi delegates: Ezidikhan.net