UK acknowledges Daesh committed genocide against Yazidis in Iraq

The UK government has formally acknowledged that the Daesh terror group committed acts of genocide against Yazidi people in northern Iraq in 2014.

Lord Ahmad, the UK’s minister of state for the Middle East, made the announcement on Tuesday ahead of the nine-year anniversary of atrocities committed against the religious minority community.

In August 2014, IS began carrying out mass killings against Yazidis in Iraq’s Sinjar province, capturing women, killing men and using Yazidi children as soldiers.

“The Yazidi population suffered immensely at the hands of Daesh nine years ago and the repercussions are still felt to this day,” said Ahmad, referring to the militant group by an Arabic acronym.

“Justice and accountability are key for those whose lives have been devastated,” he added.

The minister stated that the genocide determination strengthened the UK’s commitment “to ensuring that [Yazidis] receive the compensation owed to them and are able to access meaningful justice”.

“The UK will continue to play a leading role in eradicating Daesh, including through rebuilding communities affected by its terrorism and leading global efforts against its poisonous propaganda,” he added.

The Foreign Office said that the acknowledgement was made after a German federal court found an IS fighter guilty of acts of genocide committed in Iraq.

In November 2021, a court in Frankfurt found Taha al-Jumailly guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, aiding and abetting war crimes, and bodily harm resulting in death after joining IS in 2013.

German prosecutors stated Jumailly and his ex-wife, a German woman named Jennifer Wenisch, “purchased” a Yazidi woman and child as household “slaves” while living in Mosul.

The Yazidi girl’s mother accused Jumailly of buying her daughter in Mosul and chaining the five-year-old girl to a window outdoors as temperatures reached 50C as punishment for wetting the bed, leading her to die from thirst.

In January, Germany’s federal court of justice upheld the ruling and rejected the defendant’s appeal.

The UK now officially acknowledges five instances of genocide: the Holocaust, Rwanda, Cambodia, Srebrenica in Bosnia and IS atrocities against Yazidis.

In March 2021, Iraq’s government adopted the Yazidi Survivors’ Law, in an attempt to provide reparations for survivors of the atrocities. However, rights groups have raised concerns about the need for survivors to file a criminal complaint to be eligible.

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