Many leaders and experts have joined the Yazidi in calling for the international community to classify the ISIL attack on the Yazidi minority as genocide. For various reasons, the United States and the international community have resisted classifying the atrocities as genocide. Although prosecuting ISIL in the International Criminal Court is not the singular solution to stopping the attacks, it is an essential part of this effort.
All permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are quick to condemn genocide. We're calling upon them to live up to their past statements: recognize the persecution of the Yazidis and other groups as a genocidal act perpetuated by ISIL. Given the extreme brutality of ISIL, it is possible for nations to transcend differences and unite around this cause.
Our ultimate purpose is the collecting and evaluating the evidence of the crimes to present the case against ISIL to the international community and to prosecute the perpetrators in the International Criminal Court. Doing so will legally commit the international community to protect victimized populations before it is too late. Here's more info on who we are.
WHY RECOGNITION OF GENOCIDE IS IMPORTANT
Although the Yazidis are culturally and ethnically distinct, they are a minority. As a relatively small constituency, nations face little pressure to pursue justice for them. Nonetheless, the evidence of genocide is explicit and overwhelming. Therefore, the ability to prosecute the genocidal actions of groups like ISIL raise important questions regarding the integrity of international law.
Breaking the cycle of violence in the region must be achieved by focusing on the the primacy of human rights. Prosecution of ISIL in the International Criminal Court not only undermines the standing of this group, but will rally its opponents around a human rights mandate. This effort is a step toward providing a clear legal and moral framework for a peaceful future.
After the initial attack in the summer of 2014, during which thousands of Yazidis were killed, approximately 5,000 - 7,000 were captured by ISIL militants. The majority of those captured consisted of women and children. Since then, 2,000 have managed to escape. The rest remain in captivity.
Reports from survivors include terrifying stories of enslavement, torture, rape, and murder. Additionally, more than 20 Yazidi religious sites were destroyed, while more than 85 percent of the Yazidi population were forced out of their homes. Kurdish authorities presented a body of evidence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) last year, but it was not reviewed due to jurisdiction issues.
While we are working with the Kurds to navigate the international legal system and represent this documentation to the ICC, the Yazidis are experiencing an ongoing genocide. Help us expedite this process and build support. Please spread the word and sign the petition.