Last week McColm & Company’s Managing Director, Victoria McColm, went to New York to support the advocacy efforts of pro bono client, Free Yezidi Foundation, in her capacity as Treasurer of the Board. She attended meetings with UNICEF-USA, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Madame Zainab Hawa Bangura, and Ambassador Thoresson of the Swedish Mission to the UN. She and leaders of the Free Yezidi Foundation were able to spread awareness about the plight of the Yezidi people and promote the FYF’s mission of implementing projects that support the most vulnerable of Yezidi community, specifically children and victims of gender-based violence.
During this visit, Pari Ibrahim, Founder and Executive Director of Free Yezidi Foundation addressed the United Nations Security Council. In her speech, Ibrahim, noted the failure of the Security Council to take appropriate measures to protect the Yezidi people despite well documented accounts of rape, kidnapping, murder, and mass execution at the hands of ISIS and called for the immediate referral of this genocide to the International Criminal Court. ISIS has executed thousands of Yezidi men and boys and has abducted over 5,000 women and girls, 3,000 of which are still missing. These girls suffer brutal sexual abuse; they are either sold as sex slaves in human trafficking rings or “gifted” to senior ISIS officials. These acts, and other atrocities, are what Ibrahim say exemplify ISIS’s systematic attempts to eliminate the entire Yezidi population. Referring the genocide to the International Criminal Court is the bare minimum the Security Council could do.
In partnership with Yazda, another Yezidi-led organization, the FYF has submitted a report to the ICC that calls for the investigation into the ISIS genocide of the Yezidi people, particularly the role of foreign fighters. The report states that nationals of ICC states parties “constitute a sizable and operationally significant proportion of the ISIL forces.”
Beyond official investigation, Ibrahim asks the international community to provide relief to survivors through Yezidi led organizations and for the Security Council to consider the best course of action that will ensure Yezidi survival as minorities.
More than 400,000 Yezidi live in IDP camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The FYF have established a women’s center and a children’s center inside the Khange IDP camp. These centers will be equipped with trauma counselors, computer labs, classrooms, art supplies, toys, gardens, and even a football field. In 2016, FYF will train hundreds of practitioners in intensive trauma care and counseling, including FYF staff members, and establish as many women’s centers and children’s centers as funding permits in camps throughout Kurdistan.
McColm & Company provides pro bono consulting services to the Free Yezidi Foundation in the areas of advocacy, strategy, fundraising and organizational capacity development.
How You Can Help
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