Published:January 19, 2021
The Coalition for Just Reparations – an alliance of 27 Iraqi NGOs calling for comprehensive reparations for civilian victims of atrocity crimes perpetrated during the ISIS conflict in Iraq – expresses grave concern regarding the ongoing mental health crisis in the region, resulting in an increase in suicide cases within the Yazidi community. The total number of Yazidis who have taken their own lives in northern Iraq has increased by 11 in just the past month, according to a statement released last week by the Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychotraumatology (IPP) at the University of Duhok, Iraq.
An alarming corollary of the COVID-19 pandemic in Iraq is the psychological impact on at-risk communities, including Yazidis, Turkmen and Christians. Prior to the outbreak, Médecins Sans Frontières had already reported on a debilitating mental health crisis among Yazidis in Iraq, including the rising number of suicides. The entire Yazidi population is experiencing mental trauma caused by the acts of genocide, and some are displaying severe psychological difficulties. Among those at heightened risk are the women and girls who experienced systemic sexual violence, and the boys who were forcibly recruited by ISIS.
We are now seeing the tragic results of the failure to address these warnings. The impact of suicide on families and communities is devastating and long-lasting.
We support the IPP in calling on the Government of Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government to expedite the establishment and implementation of a national suicide prevention strategy. We welcome the efforts of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh to provide psychosocial support to genocide survivors and trainings to NGOs, and we now call on the World Health Organization and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq to take immediate action to address the acute mental health crisis by implementing enhanced suicide prevention awareness campaigns.
The underlying risk factors that lead to suicidal acts must be addressed. This includes bringing ISIS to justice for their crimes and ensuring that survivors receive comprehensive reparations. Such steps can break the culture of impunity and the continuum of atrocities that have devastated ethnoreligious communities in Iraq for generations.
We all have a collective moral responsibility to help survivors of genocide and other atrocity crimes by supporting those struggling with mental illness and by working to prevent suicides.
Every life has beauty, every life is precious.
Helpline number/email of C4JR members working to prevent suicide:
Asuda (Sulaymaniyah, Duhok)
Contact telephone: Sulaymaniyah 07708682009; Duhok 07512078968
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Better World Organization (Dohuk) provides mental health and psychosocial support in Kabartu 1&2 camps
Contact telephone: 07514035832
Contact email: email@example.com
Civil Development Organization (Sulaymaniyah, Halabja)
Contact telephone: legal services 7721519120 / 07511921107; sexual and gender based violence prevention and social services 07711503783 / 07707680178
Contact email: Legal Services Kani.firstname.lastname@example.org SGBV prevention and social services email@example.com
Emma organization (Erbil, Duhok, Shekhan)
Contact telephone: Erbil 07516380440; Duhok 07501837191 Shekhan 07501464565
Free Yezidi Foundation (Duhok) Beneficiaries can directly approach FYF centers in Khanke or Sheikhan to seek help
Hammurabi Human Rights Organization (Bagdad, Erbil, Nineveh)
Contact telephone: legal services: 07512086931; social services: 07512021857
Harikar NGO (Duhok)
Contact telephone: legal services 07508515964; psycho social support 07507071179
Contact email: legal services firstname.lastname@example.org psycho social support email@example.com
Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights (Kirkuk, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Duhok, Chamcamal, Mosul, Alqosh, Khanke Camp, Domiz Camp) provides mental health and psychosocial support, legal and social services
Contact telephone: 0750 8920079
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Justice Organization for Minority Rights (Mosul)
Contact telephone: 07508194265
Contact email: Jomr_ngo@yahoo.com
The Lotus Flower (Duhok) provides mental health and community awareness focusing on women and girls in IDP and refugee camps
Contact telephone: 0751 019 52 56
Contact email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
National Center for Human Rights (Sulaymaniyah)
Contact telephone: 07703507540
Contact email: Nationalcenter2014@gmail.com
Tajdid Iraq (Baghdad, Al-Anbar, Saladin, Diyala, Babylon, Al-Najaf) provides psychosocial support services
Contact telephone: Baghdad: 7709284488; 7901802149; Al-Anbar: 7723157872; Saladin: 7721312125, 7721312125; Diyala: 7707272654, 7710293000; Babylon: 7726573645; Al-Najaf: 7801433287
Contact email: Baghdad: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Al-Anbar: email@example.com; Saladin: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com; Diyala: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com; Babylon: Eman_j64@yahoo.com; Al-Najaf: Batolfaroq@yahoo.com
Turkmen Rescue Foundation (all of Iraq) provides mental health and psychosocial support remotely
Contact telephone: +964 772 214 5462
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yazda (Duhok, Sinjar): provides mental health and psychosocial support to survivors of ISIS captivity in Duhok and all returnees to Sinjar
Contact telephone: 07503919719
Contact email: email@example.com