The Free Yezidi Foundation has remained neutral and kept a distance from political actions in Iraq, focusing
exclusively on humanitarian, human rights, and justice and accountability efforts.
Recently the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government have made some sort of agreement
to reinstall the previous political administration in Shingal (Sinjar). It is unavoidable to address this issue,
since it is at the core of all efforts to create a sustainable, democratic, secure environment in Shingal where
religious minorities like Yezidis can live in peace.
Yezidis continue to suffer from political marginalization throughout Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region.
Although other minority groups have specially designated parliamentary seats, Yezidis have none. And we
suffer from noticeable lack of political representation. There are many effects to this reality. One result is
that the political administration and decision-making in a place like Shingal are determined in Baghdad and
Erbil, but not by the actual residents and former residents of Shingal. It is accurate to say that Shingalis do
not have access to democratic expression or the ability to help determine their local political representatives.
To be fair, this may be true in a number of locations throughout Iraq, and political dissatisfaction is not unique
to Shingal. But the specific and dramatic case of the ISIS genocide perpetrated against Yezidis civilians in
Shingal should assure some guarantees of protection, security, and representation.
The international community absolutely must take note of these developments. Currently we understand a
great deal of funding and many projects have been committed to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of
Shingal and its surrounding areas. The Free Yezidi Foundation applauds these efforts. At the same time, the
international community must be very wise with the expenditure of resources on its humanitarian efforts.
Shingal does not need a makeover or a superficial treatment. Buildings, electricity, water, schools, and basic
services are necessary. But they are not sufficient. The international community should not rebuild Shingal
and invite civilians to return, only to facilitate the next genocide! Entrenched, Yezidi-led security and
devolved, local political decision-making cannot be afterthoughts. All actors involved, including the
Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government, must allow Shingalis to participate in this
process, and not in a superficial manner. Every effort must be made to ensure that citizens and survivors are
the ones rebuilding the city and rebuilding their own lives, with the resources and the decision-making power
to do so in a proper way. If this requires a great deal of guidance and direction from the international
community, that is logical and may be helpful. But citizens of Shingal must be empowered, not
disenfranchised, in any such process.