Iraqi, Kurdish and U.N. welcome adoption of Yazidi Female Survivors Law

Yazidis gather inside a building under construction where they found refuge in Duhok, August 10, 2014. (AFP)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi and Kurdish officials as well as the United Nations welcomed the adoption of the Yazidi Female Survivors Law by the Iraqi parliament on Monday.

Iraqi Council of Representatives voted on Monday to adopt Yazidi Female Survivors Law, offering reparations to survivors of Islamic State (ISIS) militants.

The legislation aims to compensate the Yazidi women survivors as well as individuals from other minority groups, particularly Turkmen, Shabak, and Christians, subjected to crimes committed by the militant group.

The law applies to “every woman Yazidi survivor who was abducted by ISIS and later rescued, in addition to women and girls from Turkmen, Christian and Shabak components who were subjected to the same crimes mentioned,” the legislation states.

It also applies to men who survived “the mass killing”.

Iraqi President Barham Salih said in a tweet on Monday that the law “is a victory for the victims of our daughters who have been subjected to the most heinous violations and crimes of ISIS genocide”.

“Efforts must be continued to find out the fate of the remaining missing and abducted persons, provide redress for the victims and hold the criminals accountable,” Salih tweeted.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said the passage of the Yazidi Female Survivors Law “is a vital step towards justice and equal citizenship”.

“The Iraqi Government is keen on implementing the law, provide a dignified living for all female survivors, work on freeing those in captivity, and support liberated areas,” Kadhimi added.

The law, languished in the parliament for nearly two years, includes the first legal recognition of the Yazidi genocide by the Iraqi government.

“UNAMI welcomes the Iraqi parliament’s adoption of the #Yazidi Female Survivors Law: a major step in addressing the needs of survivors of atrocities that include reparations and proof of #Iraq’s commitment to address the crimes they endured,” UNAMI said in a tweet.

Nadia Murad, a Yazidi activist and the first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations, said the legislation “is an important step in acknowledging the gender-based trauma of sexual violence & need for tangible redress”.

“Implementation of the law will need to be focused comprehensively supporting & sustainably reintegrating survivors,” Murad said in a tweet.

In a statement late on Monday, Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani welcomed the adoption of the law, describing it as an important first step towards compensating Yazidis.

Barzani called for a “complete and speedy implementation of all the articles in the adopted law, since all female survivors, the children and their families are in urgent need of broad assistance”.

Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament Rewaz Fayaq said the passage was a “moral and constitutional duty of the Iraqi parliament” and that such law would help “erase part of the painful legacy of ISIS atrocities against these proud women”.

“Congratulations to all who have worked hard for this day. Especially the brave Yazidi women survivors who will not give in until justice is done and their fellow captees are returned home. Thousands still in slavery,” member of UK House of Lords Jack McConnell said in a tweet.

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