Iraqi parliament passes Yazidi survivors bill

After languishing in the Iraqi parliament for nearly two years, a bill offering reparations to survivors of the Islamic State (ISIS) group was passed on Monday, according to officials. 

The Yezidi Female Survivors law “is a victory for the victims of our daughters who have been subjected to the most heinous violations and crimes of ISIS genocide,” tweeted Iraqi President Barham Salih on Monday of the legislation that guarantees job opportunities to ISIS survivors by allocating them 2 percent of jobs in Iraq’s public sector, along with a fixed salary and land. 

Initially drafted to offer restitution solely to Yazidi women who disproportionately endured severe abuse in the hands of ISIS, the law passed applies to other ethnic and religious minorities, particularly Turkmen, Shabak, and Christians of both sexes. 

The law applies to “every woman Yazidi survivor who was kidnapped by ISIS and later liberated, in addition to women and girls from the Turkmen, Christian and Shabak components who were subjected to the same crimes mentioned," reads the legislation, which also applies to men “who survived the mass killing.” 

The legislation includes the first legal recognition of the Yazidi genocide by the Iraqi government, a term previously acknowledged by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). “This recognition by Iraq from the highest authority is one important step toward justice,” tweeted Yezidi activist Murad Ismael of the genocide recognition, which also applies to the other minorities. 

Introduced to parliament in April 2019, a special parliamentary committee was formed to amend the draft legislation after push back. 

"Some of the objections that were registered by MPs, such as those submitted by the Women's Committee to change the name of the bill to "Iraqi Women Survivors' Law " instead of Yazidis, and some other objections by the components, have contributed to the delay in passing the law,” Yazidi MP Khaleda Rasho told Rudaw English in February, describing the delay as "political" not technical. 

August 3 will be considered a day of commemoration for the crimes against Yazidis, according to the new law. A general directorate for female Yazidi affairs will be established, affiliated to the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, and be based in Nineveh province. 

Those eligible to benefit from the law must be approved by a committee composed of members from the ministries of justice and interior, the KRG, and headed by a judge from the Supreme Judicial Council. 

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani welcomed the move in a statement, calling for the "speedy implementation of all the points of the law because the conditions of all Yazidi female survivors, children and their families require quick and multilateral help." 

by Sura Ali

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