TAJÊ: Against femicide, be the voice of self-defense

The Yazidi Women's Freedom Movement launched a new international campaign against femicide.


The Yazidi Women's Freedom Movement (TAJÊ) has launched an international campaign against femicide and for the self-defense of women worldwide.

The campaign, which kicked off on 8 March, aims to bring together voices of women and women's organizations until August 3, the tenth anniversary of the genocide and femicide in Shengal. 

TAJÊ invites everyone to participate using a variety of methods, such as photos, videos, texts, songs, poems, rallies and demonstrations.

The manifesto for the campaign names five central demands of the Yazidi women's movement. TAJÊ demands that femicide be recognized as a war crime and that all perpetrators and supporters be convicted. Women's right to organized self-defense must find social and institutional acceptance. The massacre committed by ISIS in Shengal ten years ago must be officially classified as genocide at all levels and prosecuted accordingly. TAJÊ also calls for the recognition of the self-administration and security forces established in Shengal after 2014 as the legitimate representation and defense of the community. The cessation of all attacks on Yazidi society, especially the air raids by the Turkish state, is also called for as necessary for survival.

The manifesto reads as follows:

"To the women of the world,

As TAJÊ (Tevgera Azadiya Jinên Êzidî), the Yazidi Women's Freedom Movement in Şengal, we send our warmest greetings and respect to all the fighting and resisting women in the world. To all those women standing up against the violence against our bodies and souls. To all those women organizing to make a better life possible. To all those women defending their lives, lands and cultures.

The times we live in are marked by brutal wars and inhuman violence. As women, we are beaten, raped, sold, killed and burned. Our lands are occupied and nature destroyed. However, with every new attack, our global resistance and struggle against war, violence and femicide is growing. This gives us hope and strength. Our pain and our resistance is one.

For us as Êzidî women, the year 2024 is a special year. It marks the 10th anniversary of the genocide and femicide committed by the so-called Islamic State (Daesh) in Şengal. On August 3rd, 2014, tens of thousands of Êzidî were murdered, abducted and taken as slaves. Children were forcibly recruited as child soldiers. On top of that, hundreds of thousands of inhabitants of Şengal were expelled from their homeland. Our holy places were blown up and tens of buildings were detonated. However, despite all the difficulties and dangers, hundreds of families remained on the soil of Şengal, took up weapons and resisted against Daesh. They participated in the offensive to liberate Şengal and created their own protection forces, called Yekîneyên Berxwedana Şengalê (YBŞ; Şengal Resistance Units) and Yekîniyên Jinên Şengalê (YJŞ; Şengal Women's Units).

In all massacres and genocides, women are the ones suffering most. The assimilation and killing of women are frequently adopted as a means to wipe out the identity, culture and belief of a society. When, in 2014, women fell into the hands of Daesh, they were raped, sold as slaves and/or forced into marriage with jihadist fighters. Until today, 2.941 persons, most of them women and children, still remain in the hands of Daesh. The genocidal and femicidal attacks against Şengal are a cruel wound in all our hearts. We assess these attacks as the brutal face of patriarchal violence and therefore as attacks against all women.

We do not accept that, so far, no state and institution has judged Daesh and its accomplices, such as the Turkish State or KDP, for the systematic attacks carried out against the people of Şengal. On August 3rd, 2014, Şengal’s security was under the responsibility of the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) and its ruling party, KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party). However, when Daesh attacked the first villages, 12,000 PDK-peshmerga left Şengal without shooting a single bullet and delivered our people to Daesh. We demand that the responsibility of all forces will be proved and convicted.

The genocide and femicide of August 3rd, 2014 caused lots of pain, trauma and deep losses within our community. However, today this pain is the soil for our resistance. Many fighters have lost their lives for the sake of defending our land and people. We call them Şehîds (Martyrs). They are our light and hope.

After 2014, the people in Şengal organized in all fields of life based on the thoughts of Abdullah Öcalan. As Êzidî women we built the Freedom's Movement of Êzidî Women in Şengal called TAJÊ with the philosophy of JIN JIYAN AZADÎ. With proudness we can say that the mothers of Şengal are at the forefront of our resistance. We are organized in women's councils and work in the fields of culture, health, economy, press and diplomacy.

Our history is a history of struggle and resistance but also a history of 74 genocides. It taught us that we cannot trust in the protection of other forces. After the genocide of August 3rd, 2014, we therefore built our own protection forces, YBŞ, YJŞ and Asayîş Êzidxan (a security structure to meet the daily security needs of the population). YJŞ is a woman’s-only military force and our greatest honor. Today, as Êzidî women, we know how to self-defend. This is our revenge against all the pain we suffered.

However, also ten years after the genocide and femicide, the attacks against our people continue. The Turkish state, with the support of the KDP, is continuously committing air strikes against members of our military forces as well as against civilians. Dozens of our brothers and sisters have been killed in these airstrikes since 2017. Furthermore, the Iraqi state as well as the KDP are trying to abolish our self-organization and self-administration in Şengal through diplomatic pressure and their agreement of October 9th, 2020.

We claim that all suppressed people, societies and beliefs have the right to defend themselves against the danger of genocide and femicide. We consider the self-defense of the people and women of Şengal – that in other ways would be eliminated – as the only legitimate one.

As the freedom movement of Êzidî women, TAJÊ, and the Şengal Women's Resistance Units, YJŞ, we carry out an active struggle against nationalism, religious fundamentalism and especially against sexism, so that in the future no women, people or community of belief will ever again have to face genocides and femicides. We believe that in the countries we live in, we will only reach democracy, freedom and peace if we as women lead the way on the basis of self-determination and free will.

The best response against the atrocities carried out against the Êzidî women is the solidarity and worldwide organization of women.

We therefore declare that the year 2024 will be marked by raising our voices against femicide and for self-defense.

We demand:

1. That femicide will be recognized as a war crime and that all perpetrators are convicted of committing or supporting the systematic killing of women.

2. That the right of women to organize for the defense of their lives, lands and culture will be accepted by all people and institutions.

3. That the genocide of August 3rd, 2014 in Şengal will be officially recognized as a genocide. This also indicates, that the responsibility of all perpetrators and supporters, including ISIS, KDP, Turkey and Iraq will be proved and convicted.

4. That our self-administration in Şengal as well as our protection forces YBŞ, YJŞ and Asayîş Êzidxan will be accepted as the legitimate representation and protection of our people.

5. That all attacks against our people in Şengal, especially the airstrikes committed by the Turkish state, stop.

From March 8th, International Women’s Day, until August 3rd ,the tenth anniversary of the genocide in Şengal, we will therefore collect the voices, signatures and participation of various women and women’s organization to call on all women across the globe:

Let us unite our voices in the spirit of JIN JIYAN AZADÎ. Let us raise them against femicide and for self-defense.

Together we will demand accountability for the massacres of women in Şengal and every other place on earth."