Conference on Yazidi Women at the EP: Shengal's status must be recognised

EP is hosting a conference on the Yazidi community organized by the umbrella organization of the Yazidi Women's Councils (SMJÊ) in cooperation with the Yazidi Associations in Germany.

A conference on “Shengal - A society threatened by genocide – reconstruction as a guarantee for peace in the Middle East” is taking place at the European Parliament. In the opening speech, attention was drawn to the massacres and the demands of the Yazidis, and an end to the Turkish attacks was demanded.

Shilan Badal Kheder moderated the opening session of the conference organised by the umbrella organisation of the Yazidi Women’s Councils (SMJÊ) in the European Parliament and supported by the Centre of the Union of Yazidi Associations. Shilan Badal Kheder gave information about the content and purpose of the conference and said, "We will endeavour to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.”

In the opening before the first panel, Nujiyan Günay, Spokesperson of the SMJÊ, spoke about the gains that Yazidis have achieved through struggle and resistance in the last 10 years.


In her speech, Nujiyan Günay said "The Shengal region should be recognised at the international level". Noting that concrete measures should be taken for the victims of genocide, Günay stated that the democratic autonomous model in Shengal is a model for a solution. "Material aid should be provided to the victims of genocide so that they can rebuild their lives. The airspace should be closed to prevent attacks. The perpetrators of genocide should be tried at the international level. Yazidism should be recognised as a separate religion.”


Member of the European Parliament/Greens EFA Katrin Langensiepen drew attention to the ongoing threats against Yazidis and stated that a war is being waged against women and children. Langensiepen recalled the experiences of women during the Second World War.


Belgian Federal Deputy Georges Dallemagne stated that they had prepared reports on the Yazidis and that they had visited the Yazidi community. He noted that the genocide of the Yazidis was recognised in the Brussels Parliament, but that it should also be recognised by the government.

Georges Dallemagne stated that they have identified those who participated in the genocide, including Belgian citizens, and that they are working with Germany on this issue, "This conference is not just a commemoration, the tragedy is still ongoing, there are still thousands of Yazidis living in camps. Ten years after the genocide, we must find a solution for this people. A solution must be found for the safety of the Yazidis. We are in talks with the Belgian and European authorities on this issue".

Dallemagne added: "I would like to make a loud call for a protection mechanism at local, regional and international level. The people must return to their own land. We must work with the Yazidis to establish a security mechanism.”


Basque politician Lorena Lopez de Lacalle, president of the European Parliament Greens EFA, stated that many parliaments recognised the Yazidi genocide and said: "500 thousand people were displaced from their lands due to genocide. Shengal is the homeland of Yazidis".

"We must support each other," said Lorena Lopez, saluting the resistance, solidarity and reconstruction efforts of Yazidi women.

Lorena Lopez stated that it is important for parliaments to recognise the Yazidi genocide, but that steps should be taken on what to do next. "The organisation of the Yazidis is important not only for themselves but also for the region", Lorena Lopez said and ended her speech by saying 'Jin, Jiyan, Azadî' (Woman, Life, Freedom).


Özlem Demirel from the Left Group in the European Parliament (GUE/NGL) pointed out that a society with a deep-rooted culture and belief such as the Yazidis is only brought to the agenda with massacres, and criticised the European Union for having remained silent when ISIS started genocide against the Yazidis.

Özlem Demirel said that the attacks of the Turkish state were not mentioned at all and added: "I understand the demand to prevent air strikes. Those warplanes are there for war." Demirel also expressed her surprise that aircraft are still being sold to Turkey and said that “it is necessary to create the conditions for all peoples and societies, regardless of their beliefs and gender, to live in peace". Demirel emphasised that the attacks of the Turkish state and the arms sales to Turkey must be stopped.


EWL Secretary Mary Collins stated that keeping the people of Shengal, especially women, in the peace process will not bring a solution. "We want to create a feminist agenda for the solution of the problems. Women should be represented 50 percent in the peace process", she said, emphasising her approach towards a solution to the problems. Stating that long-term solutions can only be achieved in this way, Mary Collins stated that they would like to be in contact with Yazidi women about the feminist agenda.

The conference will continue with many panels throughout the day.