Camps in Ninieveh and Sinjar are unacceptable

Following various media reports and on the ground sources, with great inquietude, we monitor situation in Nineveh Plain and Sinjar regarding government initiative to build camps for Iraq detainees in Syria which majority of the them are ISIS families and relatives. This development is a real concern and worrying for the remaining Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrians and Yazidi people in Iraq. The Iraqi government and local authorities have constitutional obligation to protect local populations and their well being.

Sinjar and Nineveh Plain are two authentic regions of Iraq home for Yazidi and Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people native of the region which contributed plenty to the social, cultural, and political life of Iraq. While Nineveh Plain is unique place for Levant Christianity with its churches, monasteries and monuments, on the other hand Sinjar region is unmatched with its importance for Yazidi community home for Lalish. For thousands years these two regions have been sanctuary for the ancient communities.

During ISIS resurgence and occupation of Nineveh Plain and Sinjar region in 2014 hundred of thousands people have been forced of their places, killed, abducted, massacred, women and children have been kidnapped by ISIS. Moreover, historical churches, monasteries and religious monuments have been desecrated and destroyed. Amidst chaos and conflict, European Parliament, US administration and states recognised ISIS genocide against ethics and religious minorities in Iraq. Even if the recognition of genocide constitutes important action, still beleaguered communities are in need of solidarity, support and guarantee their survival and existence.

Among the ongoing political, social and economic difficulties and upheaval in Iraq, ongoing plan to build camps for majority ISIS detainees in Syria in Nineveh Plain and Sinjar region constitutes major challenge and danger for Yazidi people and Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrians. During the ISIS presence in 2014 at the for front the two aforementioned groups had been targeted and suffered immensely. For this reason, any attempt and project to build camps for ISIS detainees in Sinjar and Nineveh Plain must be annulled in respect for the local communities and long term preservation of social and cultural fabric.

Iraqi components Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrians and Yazidi people since many years relentlessly repeat their demands in Iraq and in the international platforms. In several international conferences and netting with officials they highlighted the necessity of autonomy regions to protect their own people and safeguard their future and existence.

On this occasion, we as ESU and Sinjar Council, we call on Iraqi government and local authorities to respect the will of local communities and internal peace of the regions and to annul publicly any camps in Nineveh Plain and Sinjar region. On the other hand, at the same time, we expect support of international community, organisations and human rights entities to stand with our cause and support us in these perilous periods.

Hülya Gabriel & Tony Vergili
Co-Chairs of European Syriac Union

Fikret Igrek
Chair of Ezidi Exil Council Sinjar

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