Yazidis get approval to set up first political party

Displaced families in Iraq. File photo.

Baghdad ( Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority has won government approval to create their first political party, with the nascent entity getting the chance to run the upcoming elections slated for early 2018.

“Thanks to efforts exerted over a whole year, the Yazidi sect obtained an official permission to partake in the upcoming elections,” the party’s founder, Yedav Qahtan, said in statements quoted by Kurdish media. He said the party’s objective will be to “defend Yazidi rights within independent political frameworks and without affiliation with other parties”.

The reports did not give details about the founder or the planned name to be given to the newborn entity.

Thousands of Yazidi Kurds fled Sanjar, a Mosul region on the borders with Syria, to nearby mountain areas following its fall to Islamic State militants in August 2014. Data from March revealed that 2915 Yazidis were rescued from Islamic State captivity, including nearly 1500 children, while more than 3500 were still in the extremist group’s hold, including more than 1700 women. The Kurdish-speaking community came to the spotlight when Islamic State militants, taking over large parts of Iraq, victimized its members, committing massacres and subjecting them to forced conversions, sexual slavery and other reported atrocities. The United Nations had said Yazidis were subjected to a genocide.

On Monday, Fayan Dakhil, a Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament, slammed the chamber for refusing to add a seat to the country’s human rights commission representing the Yazidi sect. She said in press statements that Iraqi MPs had failed to keep up past promises to implement the measure, adding that Yazidis were most deserving of that procedure.

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