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The Global Survivors Fund recognises milestone in the right to reparations for Yazidi survivors of ISIS captivity in Iraq

Press Release / Iraq 3 March 2021

Date and time

01:00 01:00

Location

Entrance of a building falling apart

Geneva, 3 March 2021

The Global Survivors Fund welcomes the adoption of the Yazidi Survivors Law by the Parliament of Iraq yesterday. When implemented, the law will enable the recognition of the suffering of survivors of ISIS captivity and conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), as well as the fulfilment of their right to reparations and the delivery of much-needed compensation, rehabilitation and restitution measures. Such measures include continuous financial support, access to land and support for employment and education opportunities. 

GSF commends the President of Iraq’s office, His Excellency Barham Salih, for taking this important initiative, and the members of the Parliament of Iraq for their constructive engagement and passing of the law. GSF also urges the Government of Iraq and other institutional actors to swiftly put in place the frameworks and mechanisms for the law’s implementation to address the rights and needs of thousands of survivors. 

Ms. Nadia Murad, co-founder of GSF with Dr. Denis Mukwege, President of Nadia’s Initiative, and Yazidi survivor, declared: “The passing of Iraq’s Yazidi Survivors Bill is an important first step in acknowledging the gender-based trauma of sexual violence and the need for tangible redress. Implementation of the law will need to be focused on comprehensively supporting and sustainably reintegrating survivors.” 

The Global Survivors Fund is a pioneer organisation in advocating for a survivor-centric approach. On the occasion of the passing of the Iraqi law, GSF reiterates that inclusive and efficient reparations can only be achieved through meaningful engagement with survivors and their representatives, particularly when designing and implementing reparations policies. GSF takes this opportunity to call for an open and inclusive approach, that will cater to all individuals and communities who suffered from ISIS captivity and CRSV. Furthermore, GSF expresses its readiness to assist the Government of Iraq in developing and implementing such reparations models. 

In 2020, GSF launched a project with Nadia’s Initiative aimed at providing interim reparative measures in the Sinjar region of Iraq. Working closely with Nadia’s Initiative and other stakeholders, the GSF expects the institutions and mechanisms envisaged by the new Iraqi law to bear their fruits soon and to improve the lives of the many survivors in the region.

Context

In August 2014, ISIS initiated a genocide and mass destruction campaign against the Yazidis, an ethno-religious minority living in Sinjar for centuries. The conflict devastated the region and led hundreds of thousands of people to flee. ISIS forced thousands of women and girls into sexual slavery and used rape and torture as a weapon of war. Over six years later, the vast majority of survivors remain without compensation for the harms done. Although Sinjar is becoming more stable, investment in rebuilding has been slow and resettlement circumstances resettlement remain discouraging. Survivors live in a transitory mode and continue to lack basic goods and services, making it impossible for them to restore their lives. 

Background

The Global Survivors Fund (“the GSF”) was launched in October 2019 by the Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Dr Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad. Its mission is to enhance access to reparations for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence around the globe. This responds to a gap long identified by survivors which complements efforts to prevent sexual violence, for justice and holistic care. GSF acts to provide interim reparative measures where the states or other parties responsible for the violence are unable or unwilling to meet their responsibilities. GSF advocates for duty bearers as well as the international community to develop and implement reparations programmes. GSF also guides states and civil society by providing expertise and technical support for designing reparations programmes. GSF works globally and has its secretariat in Geneva. GSF survivor-centric approach is the cornerstone of its work. 

 

For media queries, please contact:  
Maud Scelo, Communications officer at the GSF 
mscelo@globalsurvivorsfund.org  
+32 460 752 466 

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