SULAIMANI — The Coalition for Just Reparations (C4JR) said in a press release on Monday (July 13) that legislative progress is needed on the Ezidi Female Survivors’ Law that was submitted by the Iraqi presidency to the Council of Representatives in 2019, adding that the families of the survivors cannot wait any longer.
“More than a year has passed since the Iraqi presidency submitted a [Ezidi] Female Survivors’ Law to the Iraqi parliament for review and approval. This was a most welcome step, but more progress is needed,” C4JR said in the press release. The presidency transferred the legislation on March 28, 2019.
The current draft law applies to Ezidi women who were kidnapped and enslaved by ISIS and later escaped or were rescued from captivity and will award financial compensation to these survivors so that they can rebuild their lives and homes. It also aims facilitate their full rehabilitation, reintegration into society, and enable them to live in dignity and prosperity.
Given that the law has not yet passed, C4JR urged lawmakers to take the opportunity to broaden the language of the law to include Iraqis of all ethnic groups, religions, and genders who suffered sexual violence at the hands of Islamic State (ISIS) militants.
“The new draft law does not discard the [Ezidi] Female Survivors’ Law but builds on its framework,” the coalition said, noting that the proposed amendments would keep “provisions assuring compensation, recognition of genocide against Ezidis, prohibition of amnesty for perpetrators, commemoration, remembrance, and many others.”
Thousands of Ezidi women and girls were abducted and sold into sex slavery by the ISIS militants in August 2014 when the group attacked the Sinjar district in an act of genocide. More than 3,000 Ezidis remain missing according to official statistics.
Ezidis were specifically targeted with sexual violence because they believe that both parents must be from the religious group to be considered Ezidi.
C4JR is a coalition of 25 Iraqi civil society organizations that works “to put the spotlight on pressing needs of the survivors” of conflict-related sexual violence perpetrated by ISIS militants.