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ANCA Staff and Supporters Join Yezidi Genocide Commemoration in Front of White House

Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) staff and supporters took part in a candlelight vigil in front of the White House on Aug. 3 to mark the third anniversary of the ISIS attack on Shingal (Sinjar, in Arabic), which marked the beginning of the Yezidi Genocide in 2014. Thousands of Yezidis were killed by invading ISIS forces, which faced no opposition from Iraqi government troops. Thousands of women and children were also abducted and used as sex slaves by ISIS. To this day, many are still held captive.

ANCA staff and supporters took part in a candlelight vigil in front of the White House on Aug. 3 to mark the third anniversary of the ISIS attack on Shingal. (Photos: ANCA)

The vigil was organized by the Free Yezidi Foundation and the American Ezidi Center. “The Yezidis have suffered so much for so long. Today we need the international community to stand with us,” remarked Pari Ibrahim, Director of the Free Yezidi Foundation. “We seek justice, security, and a brighter future for our people.” The message resonated strongly with the audience, which also included Kurdish and Iraqi Christian community members.

In 2016, the United States House of Representatives voted unanimously to declare that “the atrocities perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against Christians, Yezidis, and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.” Similar motions passed unanimously in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Parliament.

In Armenia, the 40,000-strong Yezidi community—the nation’s largest minority group—is able to thrive by worshiping freely and providing Kurmanci-language education in local public schools.  The world’s largest Yezidi temple is under construction in the village of Aknalich, in Armenia, about nine miles west of Etchmiadzin, in the Armavir marz. Under Armenia’s recently amended constitution, Yezidis are guaranteed representation in Armenia’s National Assembly, along with the next three largest minority groups: Assyrians, Kurds, and Russians.

During Word War I, many Yezidis protected their Armenian neighbors from Ottoman troops. Some were killed for their involvement. Many others shared the same fate as the Armenians of Western Armenia, with others fleeing with Armenian refugees to what became the Republic of Armenia. On April 21, 2015, a monument was inaugurated in Yerevan to honor those “innocent Yezidi martyrs.”

On April 21, 2015, a monument was inaugurated in Yerevan to honor those “innocent Yezidi martyrs.” (Photo: 23 Artashes)

One year later, a monument to the ongoing Yezidi Genocide was also unveiled in Yerevan.

Opening ceremony of the world’s first memorial to the ongoing Yezidi Genocide. Yerevan, 2016 (Photo: Photolure)

According to one Reuters report, around 50 Yezidi families fleeing the Shingal region in 2014 have found refuge in Armenia.

2 Comments on ANCA Staff and Supporters Join Yezidi Genocide Commemoration in Front of White House

  1. avatar Craig Markarian Demirjian // August 4, 2017 at 12:35 pm // Reply

    Thank you, ANC for showing the Yezidis that we are united with them! We need to stand together, not only with them, but with everyone who faces or has faced similar fate as ours.

  2. avatar Proud to be American // August 4, 2017 at 1:56 pm // Reply

    It must be recognized internationally. My question is why the demonstration was not held at United Nations headquarters in New York, Geneva and Zurich.

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