Seventh Annual Commemoration of the Yazidi Atrocities 2-3 August 2021
03 August 2021
Remarks by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me start by thanking you for the opportunity to address you on this solemn occasion.
As we all know: the recent history of Sinjar has witnessed unimaginable suffering. The atrocities remain vivid in our collective memory, a trauma carried to the present day by Yazidi victims and their families.
The crimes committed by Da’esh, which include forced marriages, abductions, sexual slavery, rape, and other forms of extreme violence amount to genocide.
Compoundingthe indignity was the fact that victims often returned to destroyed or unsafe homes or had to reside in camps or informal settlements with family members missing or dead.
Years later, survivors still face immense challenges. While they urgently need to rebuild their lives, unnecessary obstacles continue due to discord on security arrangements, public service provision, and a unified administration.
Now, the inability of parties and authorities to set aside differences for the greater good, particularly in such a traumatic context, is frankly unconscionable.
Ten months ago, an agreement was reached on administrative, service and security arrangements in the Sinjar district.
Together, the Federal and Kurdish Regional Governments took an important step in the right direction, laying the groundwork for stability, improved safety and better living conditions.
And of course, the passing of the Yazidi Survivors Law in March 2021 was a major development, helping address the issues faced by survivors. It provides for reparations, care for survivors and their rehabilitation into society.
Right now, however, more must be done. Progress has been unacceptably slow in improving governance and unifying the administration. And the harsh reality is that these roadblocks are holding progress hostage, with the long-suffering Sinjaris paying the price.
In the spirit of continued solidarity with the residents of Sinjar, the UN has remained actively engaged on the implementation of the agreement.
And I can only emphasize our readiness and commitment to help all stakeholders move towards a normalized, sustainable situation on the ground.
Frankly, it is past time to reach consensus on stable governance and security structures, thereby expediting reconstruction and facilitating safe and dignified returns.
Ladies and gentlemen,
On this occasion, in living memory of the victims, I wholeheartedly reaffirm our support and solidarity with those who continue to bear the scars of monstrous inhumanity.
Now, as I said, the continued suffering must be eased without delay. I therefore call, yet again, upon all stakeholders to URGENTLY put the interests of the people first, and thus to empower a single, unified administration in Sinjar.
No one has forgotten what happened seven years ago, and the world is surely watching today.
Thank you and blessings to all.
Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq