Armenian Parliament recognizes Yezidi genocide
[LALISH, Nineveh, Iraq. January 22, 2018] – Prime Minister Waheed Mandoo Hammo of Ezidikhan has expressed his nation’s appreciation and gratitude in a letter to Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan for the Armenian National Assembly enacting a resolution recognizing the Yezidi Genocide of August 2014. Armenia is the first UN Member State to recognize the murderous attacks, enslavement and tortures by the Islamic State forces killing thousands of Yezidi, enslaving thousands more. These attacks traumatized hundreds of thousands of people with killings, destruction of villages and sacred sites now internally displaced in refugee camps.
Introducing his new autonomous government, Prime Minister Waheed Mandoo Hammo on August 24, 2017 declared:
“The ancient Yezidi nation is distinct from Kurds in both faith and civilization. Out of the compulsion to protect Yezidi culture and civilization we present our rights as an ancient, indigenous people of northern Iraq to establish the formation of this Provisional Government of Ezidikhan. This council of the nation of Ezidikhan vows that a fair investigation to bring to justice all those who committed acts of genocide against our brothers, sisters and mothers will be carried out and none except the innocent will be spared.”
Stating further his convictions to Armenian Prime Minister Karapetyan Prime Minister Hammo said, “We shall rebuild our country and obtain the return of thousands of Yezidis who had to flee the violence.”
Waheed Mandoo Hammo’s grandfather Hammo Shiro was the Pasha of Yezidis in the late 19th Century to early 20th Century who saved more than 20,000 Armenian refugees in Shingal during the Armenian genocide perpetrated by Turks and Kurds in 1915 to 1917. Prime Minister Hammo’s letter to the Armenian Prime Minister expressed mutual recognition of the shared traumatic experience of genocide by Armenian and Ezidikhan peoples and the importance of seeking new international standards for the crime of genocide “that will ensure justice for peoples such as ours.” The genocide committed against the Armenians in 1915-1916 included mass murder as well as forced relocations and deportations “similar to the Yezidi experience in 2014 at the hands of Islamic State forces and their allies,” Hammo explained in his letter.
Prime Minister Waheed Mandoo Hammo’s grandfather Hammo Shiro was the Pasha (high level official in the Ottoman Empire) and charismatic leader of the Yezidis in the late 1800s to early 1900s who offered sanctuary in the Yezidi territory of Shingal for the Armenians seeking refuge from marauding attacks. He is credited with having saved their lives in a bold and courageous act of defiance toward plundering Turks and Kurds during the unchecked genocide.
The National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia proclaimed that Armenia is committed to human rights protection recognized under the UN Charter and stressed the importance of implementing the provision of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Armenian legislation further affirmed Armenia’s commitment to work to prevent genocides and condemn genocidal acts.
The Armenian legislation specifically condemned the “genocidal acts by terrorist groups against the Yazidi people committed in territories of Iraq under their control,” and “condemns all acts of terrorism and extremist ideology,” that “targeted actions by terrorist groups against the Yazidi people.” Finally the legislation called for the “international community to take measures to ensure the safety and protection of the Yezidi people, provide them humanitarian aid,” and take steps to “make all possible efforts to prevent,” and rule out and eliminate similar human rights violations” against the Yezidi people.
Minister of Parliament Rustam Makhmudyan, an Armenian Yezidi, urged Armenia’s Parliament to “not only condemn the genocide against the Yazidi people, but also investigate the crimes through international agencies, pursue the perpetrators of the crimes and hold them accountable, and to take measures to prevent similar actions in the future.” The legislation was the first of its kind issued by a UN member state concerning the Yezidi.
The Yezidis have been persecuted for generations under the Ottoman Empire and have continued to be persecuted since 1918. They were denied education by the Ottoman Empire and more recently by the Iraqi government. Iraq’s Prime Minister had opened hopeful talks with the Ezidikhan government in September and October of 2017, but suddenly broke off talks without explanation in November. The new government of Ezidikhan plans to bring a fundamental change to these conditions with a plan to Rebuild and Return Ezidikhan people. Persecuted, living under Sharia law, Yezidis have been denied fundamental human rights in violation of international agreements.