National day of action, Called by Stand up to Racism, BARAC, Stop the War Coalition, Migrant Rights Network War on Want, Peoples Assembly Against Austerity, Movement Against Xenophobia, Love Music Hate Racism and Black Out London
REPAK, the Kurdish Women’s Relations Office based in Erbil, has published this statement on the one year anniversary of the IS attack on Sinjar/Shengal, which led to a horrific massacre in which thousands of Yezidi people were killed, thousands taken into sexual slavery and many more thousands were displaced.
To the press and public
Exactly one year ago, gangs of the so-called Islamic State (IS) tried to carry out genocide in the Southern Kurdish (Northern Iraqi), mostly by Yazidis inhabited city Shingal/Sinjar. On 3 August 2014, IS aimed to occupy Shingal by massacres and ethnic cleansing in the villages around. According to numbers of the UN, due to the massacres that started on 3 August, 5 thousand Kurdish Yazidis got killed, 7 thousand girls and women got kidnapped like trophies, enslaved by IS gangs and sold in slavery markets. Even though some of the women were able to escape, a lot of women committed suicide for escaping from this atrocity. But still thousands of women remain in the hands of IS.
Also according to the reports of international official institutions, while the Kurdish Regional Government’s Peshmerga forces that were stationed in Shingal, faced with the attacks of IS withdrew from the region. The guerrilla forces of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and People’s Defence Units (YPG) fighters from Rojava were able to open a humanitarian corridor to Rojava and by doing so to rescue ten thousands of Yazidis from genocide.
With the attacks that started on 3 August 2014, the IS gangs did not only aim to occupy Shingal and include it to their so-called controlled area. At the same time, they intended a physical and cultural genocide against Yazidis and a feminicide against Yazidi women. The Yazidis that in history have been faced with 73 genocides are one of the most ancient religions in the Middle East. Over centuries they resisted against powers, which tried to seize control. Mount Shingal, which in the eyes of the Yazidis is holy, has always been a shelter. By destroying this shelter, which is one of the last Yazidi centres, the genocide process against this ancient religion should be completed.
First target of these massacres have been women. Because those who committed these massacres well know that women are the resultants of all cultural codes of the Yazidi culture. By attacking women, a whole society should be destroyed. The killing of Yazidi girls and women, rape, kidnapping, enslaving, forced change of religion are concrete expressions of feminicide.
The IS attacks against Yazidis for genocide and occupation of Shingal are still continuing. But the Yazidis were also able to develop their self-defence and self-organisation for taking their existence under guarantee and by doing so, resist against continuing attacks. Also the women in Shingal a few days ago organised their first conference and established the Shingal Yazidi Women’s Council. For overcoming the continuing IS-threat on the Yazidis, support for their efforts for self-defence and organisation must be supported. Nobody should allow another exodus of the Yazidis.
In this context international forces, especially the German government, should not develop ‘rehabilitation’ projects for Yazidi women, which would break them away from their homeland. Instead they should support projects in place. Projects that break Yazidi women away from their families, their society and their land will not serve healing the deep wounds, but create new ones and deepen social and cultural degeneration.
For being able to prevent new massacres, it is needed to investigate the massacres in Shingal with all its dimensions and bring the responsible out into the open. Only with a true confrontation and investigation of the happening, new massacres can be prevented.
In this connection, we make following urgent demands:
· The UN should recognize the physical and cultural genocide against the Yazidi society in Shingal by IS and take necessary action
· The UN should recognize the massacres, rape, kidnapping, suicides, forced change of religion and enslaving by IS against Yazidi as feminicide and take necessary action
· The massacres in Shingal should be investigated by an independent delegation and the responsible should be clarified and judged
· The support for IS by states like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar should be investigated, the responsible judged by the International Criminal Court and these states should be sanctioned
· Germany should abandon policies that break Yazidi women from their country and society away
· International humanitarian organisations should support strengthening the self-help and self-organisation of the Yazidi society in Shingal
3 August 2015
Kurdish Women’s Relations Office
Kurdish Women’s Relation Office
رێکخراووی پەیوەندییەکانی ئافرەتانی کورد
Navenda Pêwendiyan a Jinên Kurd
منظمة المرأة الكردية للعلاقات
+964 (0) 750 197 06 44
Erbil – Northern Iraq
We are now recruiting a VAWG project leader (paid) and four female volunteers to work with us in providing culturally sensitive advice and psychological support for women from Kurdish and Turkish communities who face violence.
Click here for more information: VAWG project leader
As a sessional worker you will lead the VAWG project ‘For a life free of violence’. The project funded by Big Lottery Fund aims to provide integral services encompassing legal advice and advocacy as well as individual psychological counselling with a focus on women’s issue for victims of domestic violence, forced marriage or honour based violence.
Closing Date: Please submit CV, cover letter and equal opportunities form by 6 pm on 12th July 2015 to email@example.com. We appreciate the interest of all applicants, however only selected candidates will be contacted. Start date for this role is 3rd August 2015.
As an advice and support worker you will provide impartial advice and support to our clients on the options available as victims of violence, helping them find a safe place to stay, helping them with long-term issues such as housing, access to benefits and income generation, and informing them of the possible legal remedies and procedures, among other responsibilities.
As a counselor you will help users to explore feelings and emotions related to their experiences with violence. You will establish a relationship of trust and respect with clients, helping them towards a deeper understanding of their problems and to make choices regarding possible ways forward.
Click here for more information: Roj Women VAWG Volunteer posts
Closing Date: Please submit CV and cover letter by 5pm on Wednesday 1st August to firstname.lastname@example.org. Start date for this post will be 15th August.
Last October we first met in Paris and gathered our forces as feminists to support the women’s struggle in Kobanê. At first, we were united by the pressing need to make Kurdish female fighter’s voices heard in France and to let people know about their fight for women’s liberation. Following our first meeting, we wrote a text aimed at bringing together feminists from different tendencies around this solidarity project. In fact we consider that the strength of our collective lies in the fact that it is made of feminists who, while they have different perspectives on several topics, have stayed together to express their solidarity with the social and political project defended by Kurdish women.
Since the first meeting, we have agreed not to limit our work to public declaration of support. We were willing to act, not just to talk and, as a result, we decided to send a delegation to the Turkish border with the Rojava. In early November, eight women from our collective went to Northern Kurdistan and met with political leaders, elected officials, female refugees and women from the civil society. Once there, they saw the situation created by the war, as well as the strength of the organizations and the Kurdish people facing this very difficult social and economic situation. The forty pages long report we later wrote meant to reflect the extremely rich exchange that resulted from this dialogue between women.
Our will to share the messages of the women we met in Northern Kurdistan led us to participate in several public events. We were invited as a collective to radio programs and meetings organized by political parties. We were part of the protests and demonstrations in support of Kobanê. We organized events with other feminists. Lastly we wrote articles for several newspapers.
The struggle in Kobanê is now entering a new stage. The reconstruction of the canton is both a human and a political emergency. It is a human emergency because we know that thousands of people are currently living in an extremely bad economic and social situation. Thus, not only do we have to rebuild all the urban living areas, but we also have to address the needs of the population (in terms of food, health, education…). It is a political emergency because we know that obscurantist, imperialist and capitalist forces are today more that ever ready to stifle the social revolution happening in Kobanê.
For us, supporting the women in Kobanê means establishing a dialog between women that enables us to learn from each other’s experiences and to mutually reinforce one another. It is with this in mind that we want to support the effort of the Kurdish movement in general, and of the Kurdish women in particular, to build an anticapitalist, non-statist, ecological and feminist society. We would like to build a solidarity that respects Kurdish women’s autonomy, to forge an alliance based on the sharing of practices and on joint mobilisation.
From now on, our goal is to prepare the July 1st meeting by building a coordination between the women’s groups in Europe that are willing to get involved in the reconstruction project in solidarity with the Kurdish women. The preparation of this meeting by different women’s groups in Europe thus aims to foster a solidarity that will reinforce the Kurdish women in their project for the reconstruction of Kobanê.
For that purpose we invite you to join our initiative. We are currently developing a reconstruction project focused on the Kobanê women’s needs and expectations. We will send you the first draft of the project around June 10th. This draft will be written by our collective working closely with the Kurdish women in Europe and in Kobanê. They are the subject of the reconstruction and we would like to make sure that their autonomy is respected at every step of the way. After June 10th, once you will have received the project, we invite you to collectively look into this to let us know :
– Which knowledge and practices can you mobilize for this project?
– How does it resonate with your own political experiences?
– What forms of social mobilisations would you like to build around this project?
We will need you to send us your answers on June 20th so that we can rework the project based on your answers. That way, we should be able to return a new working paper to you, one that takes into account your answers.Thus we ask you to start planning now your working meeting. It should take place between June 10th and 20th, so that you’ll have time to discuss the document we will send you and to share your thoughts with us. Feel free to contact us by emails as of now to exchange, to meet us and to know more about the proposed initiative.
Rojava is liberated, the women’s struggle continues !
The struggle will continue until women’s liberation in all areas of society!
Collectif Solidarité Féministe avec Kobanê
Contact : email@example.com
On 3-5 April, a conference will be held in Hamburg University called Dissecting Capitalist Modernity – Building Democratic Confederalism, registration is now open to all.
This follows the last successful conference in 2012 when hundreds of students, intellectuals and activists came together for three days to discuss perspectives to overcome the current, crisis-struck system of capitalist modernity and the ideas of the Kurdish freedom movement and others on this topic. This year, featured speakers include Havin Guneser; Prof David Harvey (US), Prof David Graeber (UK), Prof. John Holloway (Mexico), PYD Co-Chair Asya Abdullah (Rojava/Northern Syria), Dr. Ahmad Yousef (Rojava/Northern Syria), HDP MP Selma Irmak (Northern Kurdistan/Turkey), Prof. Elmar Altvater (Germany), Janet Biehl (US) und Demetrios Rossopoulos (Canada) and Dr Radha D’Souza (India/UK).
You can find out more about the conference here: http://networkaq.net/
You will find details of how to register in the letter of invitation: http://networkaq.net/2015/General_Invitation_2015_Conference.pdf
Address: The GLA, Committee Room 4, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA
Hosted by Roj Women’s Association & Kurdistan National Congress with Osman Baydemir (former HDP-Mayor of Diyarbakir)
Roj Women’s Association & Kurdistan National Congress would like to cordially invite you to a reception to celebrate Newroz, the Kurdish New Year festival. The reception will take place in Committee Room 4, City Hall-Greater London Authority on Thursday 12th March between 6.00pm and 9.00pm and will be hosted by Roj Women’s Association and Kurdish National Congress. Food and drinks will be provided and there will also be an opportunity to enjoy traditional Kurdish music and dance.
At mid-afternoon on 15 September 2014, the foreign minister of Kobane, Omer Mus, received a call from a UN official stating that Turkey was prepared to take in 40,000 refugees crossing the border from Kobane. Hours later, ISIS began attacking the city from all three sides and the YPG and YPJ forces began a massive evacuation of tens of thousands of villagers. Those that remained took part in a historic defence of their city, which, had it not been successful, could have had disastrous consequences for the people of the region.