Events and Activities
Press Release: Complaint before UN Human Rights Committee on Turkish Airstrikes against Yazidi (Ezidi) civilians & civilian objects in Iraq
On 27 July 2023, Accountability Unit (AU), on instruction from Women for Justice (WfJ), filed a formal complaint before the UN Human Rights Committee concerning airstrikes carried out by the Republic of Türkiye (Türkiye), on 17 August 2021, which targeted and destroyed a civilian hospital, Sikeniye Medical Clinic, in Sinjar, Iraq, killing eight civilians and severely injuring many others. This is the first case to be brought, before an available international adjudicatory body, on the issue of Turkish airstrikes against the Yazidis (Ezidis).
The filing was on behalf of four witnesses to the airstrikes, of whom three are complainants and one eyewitness / interested party, and follows a meticulous two-year expert investigation. The complainants and witnesses are anonymised given the real risk of reprisals if their identities were revealed.
Read the full press statement in English here.
Joint statement: call for a $1.5 billion fund for the reconstruction of Sinjar by August 3, 2024
On July 27, 2023, we jointly as Yazidi (Ezidi) civil society organizations, leaders and intellectuals, released a statement. It focuses on the demand for the provision of a special fund of $1.5 billion, directly managed by the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office, for the reconstruction of public infrastructure and private housing and land in Sinjar district. Read the full statement in English here.
Narrative Art & Visual Storytelling
The project “Narrative Art & Visual Storytelling – in Holocaust and Human Rights Education” grew out of a 2018 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Connections Grant. The “Visual Storytelling Colloquium & Workshop” at Ravensbrück brought together scholars, artists, librarians, and students from around the world and consisted of a series of graphic novel and teaching workshops.
As part of our work with survivors, we are supporting the current project.
New podcast "What does liberation mean?"
We are pleased to draw your attention to the first episode of the podcast “Let’s talk about FERMAN” from our collaborative project, in which (at irregular intervals) we look with different experts at topics such as liberation, living on, being a perpetrator and minorities in Germany.
In the first episode “What does liberation mean? Between rupture, emancipation and responsibility” our representative Dr. Leyla Ferman, together with Katja Seybold (Bergen-Belsen Memorial) and “Eby” Bakari Tangara (ADV Nord e.V.), asks the question to what extent liberation in the context of the liberation of the Shingal region in northern Iraq, the liberation of Africa from the European colonial powers and the liberation of Bergen-Belsen is more than a mere (historical) act. The podcast (german language) can be accessed here.
We wish you an enlightening listen!
Homepage of our cooperation project FERMAN online
We are pleased to announce the launch of the homepage of our cooperation project FERMAN.
From now on, information about the project (concerns, contents and events) as well as basic information about Yazidis and Yazidi belief and community, the genocide of the Yazidis, “Islamic State“ and the continuation of life can be found at www.ferman.eu. In a further step, topic-related educational materials will also be made available via the homepage.
We wish you an informative click and read and look forward to active sharing with possible interested parties.
Opening of the kindergarten in Serdeşt
Finally the time has come: The kindergarten in Serdeşt, which has been planned and built since 2021, was opened on 01 April 2023 with a beautiful celebration.
Our local partners from the Ezidi Woman Support League have organized and accompanied the new building with a lot of commitment and heart and soul. We congratulate them very much on this great success! For about two years we have been working on its completion. The project is realized as a cooperation between the Ezidi Woman Support League, Aktion Hoffnungsschimmer e. V., Aktion der kleine Prinz e. V. and Women for Justice e. V..
The large building offers space for at least 50 children. From now on they can spend time together here, in the middle of the beautiful mountains of Shingal. The kindergarten includes group rooms, a large hall, a depot and is equipped with modern sanitary facilities. In addition to singing together and art and culture projects, the Arabic and Kurdish languages will also be taught.
The operation of the kindergarten is to be guaranteed in the future initially by means of donations. We are very happy about your support!
The city of white musicians/Bajarê mosîqarên spî
In March and April, the play “The city of white musicians/Bajarê mosîqarên spî” will be performed a total of 15 times in HALL 19 of the Celle Schlosstheater.
ALL DATES AT A GLANCE: 24.03., 25.03., 30.03., 01.04., 06.04., 08.04., 13.04., 14.04., 15.04., 20.04., 21.04., 22.04., 27.04., 28.04., 29.04.2023 – in each case 20:00 o’clock – HALL 19
Together with other initiatives and associations from Celle, we have put together a supporting program to complement the play in terms of content (see photo gallery on the left). It refers to the persecution of the Kurds and the longing for peace and reconciliation.
Side Event to the UN Human Rights Council 52nd session
On March 6, 2023, a side event to the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council was held under the title “Justice for the Daesh atrocities: the need for comprehensive responses”. It was convened by a broad cooperation of various governmental and non-governmental organizations, of which we were one.
Podcast for Diversity with Dr. Leyla Ferman
In the new episode of the podcast “For Diversity” by the Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (GfbV = Society for Threatened Peoples), our representative Dr. Leyla Ferman and GfbV-consultant Nadja Grossenbacher talk about the responsibility of states in carrying out and dealing with genocides. The focus is on the genocide of the Yazidis (Ezidis) by so-called Islamic State in 2014 and the genocide of the Herero and Nama by the German Empire in Namibia in 1904-08. What legal ways does international law offer to prevent genocides or to punish them if they have already happened? What do survivors want? How can international law assist survivors in obtaining justice? In our two examples, what avenues have already been pursued, and how should they be evaluated?
The “Duties to protect” that Dr. Leyla Ferman addresses in the podcast can be found here:
You can find the conversations with affected people that Nadja talks about on Youtube:
Empowerment video by filia
In February 2023 filia the women’s foundation has created a wonderful video: In short six minutes, they present all the projects they supported in the last rotation with the program Empowerment Program Women* & Flight. We were there too!
Open Letter to Council of Europe on Foreign "IS" Members
As Women for Justice, we, among many others, have signed an open letter regarding foreign “IS” members. It is addressed to Council of Europe members, co-authored by dozens of organizations representing Iraqi communities, including Yazidis (Ezidis), Christians, and others. The letter expresses concern over the lack of justice and underlines the importance of an international tribunal. It further explores the matter of foreign “IS” members and the responsibility of their home countries to ensure justice and prioritize the needs of the surviving community.
The full text of the letter, with signatories, is here.
German Bundestag recognizes massacre of Yazidis (Ezidis) as genocide
On January 19, the German Bundestag also finally recognized the genocide of the Yazidis (Ezidis) by the self-proclaimed Islamic State as such. Our representative Dr. Leyla Ferman spoke about this in an interview in the program Basimbar on Cira TV.
The Bundestag officially says about the recognition: “The coalition fractions of SPD, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and FDP urge in a joint motion (20/5228) with the CDU/CSU fraction to recognize the IS crimes against the Yazidis as genocide. ‘The German Bundestag bows to the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the IS,’ reads the bill, which the Bundestag will discuss and vote on today, Thursday.
The parliament recognizes that the crimes committed by the terrorist militia ‘Islamic State’ (IS) against the ‘Yazidi community on Iraqi territory in 2014 constitute genocide within the meaning of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,’ the MPs write.”
Interview with the Human Rights Institute (Georgetown University Law Center)
For one and a half hours in January, our representative Dr. Leyla Ferman was in conversation with four people from the Human Rights Institute (Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC). The interview was about accountability and the genocide of the Yazidis (Ezidis).
The focus was also on the legal responsibility of states and what role the U.S. could and should take in this context. We hope to deepen the connection and continue the exchange in the future.
Bergen-Belsen - A place of remembrance of the suffering of the Yazidis (Ezidis)
A video of our cooperation project “Ferman”: Bergen-Belsen, a name full of horror and terror, of grief and anger. Witness to a long gone, dark era in the heart of Europe, which holds silent but cautionary testimonies that tell of grief, torture, murder and genocide of the Jews of Europe by the Nazis. In addition, a unique project on the genocide of the Yazidis (Ezidis) was launched here: Ferman. But let’s start from the beginning. Three strong women – Katja Seybold, Dr. Leyla Ferman and Isabell Leverenz – tell us more!
Nadschla Mato is part of the Ferman project. She herself is a Yazidi (Ezidi) who survived the terror and genocide of „Islamic State“ against the Yazidis (Ezidis). A very impressive and especially necessary project. We are also confident that the Foundation of Lower Saxony Memorials will continue the Ferman project.
December 2022 – January 2023
"Das Leid von Şengal" ("The suffering of Sinjar")
74 years ago, on December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations, which is one of its most important achievements. Therefore, on the occasion of December 10, every year the human rights situation worldwide is put in the center of attention and both grievances are denounced and commitment is honored.
On this occasion, the exhibition opening “Das Leid von Şengal” (“The suffering of Sinjar”) will take place on Friday 09 December 2022 in the parish hall of St. Lamberti Parish Bergen.
Opening: 09 December 2022 17:00, with speeches, musical accompaniment and tea serving.
New Year’s reception: January 15, 2023 10:00 a.m. with lecture and discussion.
(the reception begins with a church service in St. Lamberti Church)
Regular opening hours: 09.12.22-15.01.23 Tuesday: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. | Friday: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Further appointments and guided tours (weekdays or weekends) by arrangement at contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sinjar (Şengal) is the capital of a district of the same name in Iraq and also the main settlement area of the Yazidis (Ezidis) the province of Nineveh. On the night of August 3, 2014, terrorists of the “Islamic State” attacked the town, killing thousands of Yazidis (Ezidis) and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee. The artist Saleh Aldawood was among them and documented his experiences with colored pencils. He lives in Hamburg and is now showing his drawings to a wider public. Saleh Aldawood was born in Sinjar in 1974. He is married and has seven children. After graduating from high school, he studied automotive and engine engineering at the university in Mosul. Until he fled, he worked as a teacher in Al-Haunania (Sinjar).
The drawings have been selected from a documentation Saleh Aldawood made during and after his flight. The exhibition is made available by the Körber Stiftung Hamburg and the Landeszentrale für politische Bildung (Hamburg Agency for Civic Education).
On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, the cooperation project “FERMAN heißt Völkermord” (“FERMAN means genocide”) of the association Women for Justice e. V. and the Stiftung niedersächsische Gedenkstätten (Foundation of Lower Saxony Memorials) invites to the opening of the exhibition in Bergen in the parish hall of St. Lamberti Parish. Claudia Dettmar-Müller, mayor of the city of Bergen, is matron of the good five-week presentation, which takes place with the support of regional associations. For all of them, remembrance and commemoration are important, as well as coming together around these themes.
Meeting female survivors
We understand meetings with female survivors as the basis of all our work. We have been meeting female survivors from Sinjar (Şengal) both as inviduals and in groups. Besides social care and legal advice, we try to find out methods to enable Yazidi (Ezidi) survivors to make their own decisions in life here in Germany.