ICC Note: Today marks the four-year anniversary of when ISIS militants attacked Sinjar, home to Iraq’s Yazidi population. A few days later, ISIS would sweep across the rest of the Nineveh Plains, completing its displacement of religious minorities from the area. In an op-ed published by Forbes, the author warns that by failing to acknowledge the root causes of this genocide, we will be unable to prevent future atrocities from occurring.
08/03/2018 Iraq (Forbes) – Four years ago, on August 3, 2014, Daesh launched a violent attack against Yazidis in Sinjar. Daesh fighters killed hundreds, if not thousands of men. The victims’ mass graves continue to be discovered to this day. As part of the same campaign, Daesh fighters abducted boys to turn them into child soldiers and women and girls for sex slavery. More than 3,000 women and girls are still missing and their fate is unknown.
Four years later, 98% of the territories previously held by Daesh in Syria and Iraq have been recovered. The self-proclaimed caliphate is disappearing from the region and the atrocities committed by Daesh has fallen from the spotlight as the world focuses on other atrocities committed elsewhere. This is how it works. We preoccupy our coverage of the issues with the success of a military win against Daesh. In doing so, we miss the elephant in the room: what about those that were killed, those who were abducted, those who are still missing? Their stories are not over yet. Their stories are still waiting to be heard.
Yet, by failing to realise the story is not over, we provide fertile ground for similar atrocities to happen again. Daesh may have been defeated in the region, but the ideology that drives the violence is far from defeated and will emerge again once conditions allow. We need to address the underlying issues.
Four years ago, and a few days after the attack on Sinjar, Daesh also attacked the Ninevah Plains and forced over 120,000 people to flee for their lives in the middle of the night. They destroyed the area and took control of it for over two years. It was liberated during the second half of 2016. Today, almost two years later, just a third of the families that used to populate the Nineveh Plains prior to 2014 attack have returned. Only 35% of the buildings are restored.
Four years ago, we promised to do more, to help the survivors. To bring Daesh to justice. To ensure that such mass atrocities do not happen again. Four years later, we have not made good on any of these promises.
The survivors of the Daesh genocide continue to be let down.
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