German Parliament recognises the ISIS genocide against Yazidis in Shengal

The German Parliament has recognised the ISIS massacres of the Yazidi community in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq as genocide, stating that the crimes committed by ISIS in Shengal in 2014 constitute genocide in the sense of the UN Convention.

The German Parliament Bundestag on Thursday recognised the systematic persecution and murder of Yazidis in northern Iraq (southern Kurdistan) by ISIS as genocide. The MPs voted unanimously in favour of the resolution, which was jointly tabled by the SPD, FDP, CDU/CSU parliamentary groups. "The German Bundestag bows to the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by ISIS," the resolution reads. "It recognises the suffering caused to hundreds of thousands of people by the crimes of the terrorist organisation ISIS and pays tribute to the resistance of countless people in the region against the tyrannical injustice and the resolute commitment to human rights, democracy and the coexistence of religions. Six million people became internally displaced persons in Iraq alone as a result of the indescribable atrocities, refugees worldwide - many of whom have still not been able to return to their homes. Yazidis, Christians and members of other religious and ethnic minorities, as well as Muslims resisting ISIS, became victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In particular, ISIS pursued the goal of complete extermination of the Yazidi community. More than 5,000 Yazidis were tortured and brutally murdered by ISIS, especially in 2014." The resolution stated that the ISIS’ crimes in Shengal in 2014 were "genocide in the sense of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”

The vote in the Bundestag was followed by Yazidi representatives. Sevim Dağdelen, a left-wing MP, said in the debate before the vote that ISIS is supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey and that the weapons given to the terrorist militia also come from German production. Dağdelen criticised the text of the resolution for not mentioning the YPG by name. “While the Peshmerga fled, the defence forces from Rojava reached Shengal and saved the lives of thousands of people. This must be named.” The resolution only mentions "Kurdish units", which were instrumental in the territorial victory over ISIS in Iraq. In fact, it was mainly the PKK guerrillas who came out of the mountains with hundreds of fighters and, together with the YPG/YPJ from Rojava, confronted the Islamists.

Dağdelen also criticised the German government's support of the Erdogan regime and pointed out that Turkey continues to attack the Yazidi community in Shengal. “If Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wants to protect the Yazidis and Shengal, she must speak out against Turkey's attacks, which are against international law,” she said.

Regarding the insecure situation in Shengal, the resolution says of the role of the Turkish state: "Turkey's military operations also violate Iraq's state sovereignty and have the potential to destabilise northern Iraq, including the Kurdistan-Iraq region."

The resolution includes demands from the German government. The government should expand the legal processing and prosecution of perpetrators in its own country and internationally, provide more financial support for the collection of evidence on the ground in Iraq, support a documentation centre on the crimes of international law committed by ISIS in Germany, urge Iraq to protect the rights of Yazidis and help in the reconstruction of destroyed Yazidi settlements. This was based on a petition by the Berlin-based association Office for Yazidi Affairs [Stelle für jesidische Angelegenheiten], which campaigned for recognition. UN bodies and the European Parliament have already recognised ISIS crimes as genocide, as have Armenia, Australia, the US House of Representatives and the Scottish Parliament.