Sunday

19th Jan 2020

EU aid not reaching Yazidi in northern Iraq, says NGO

  • The Islamic State in Iraq have lost territory (Photo: Eszter Zalan)

The EU has provided some €350m in humanitarian funding aid for Iraq between 2015 and 2017.

But Nadia's Initiative, an NGO named after an enslaved Yezhidi girl who managed to escape the Islamic State, says little if anything ends up helping the discriminated community in Sinjar, an ancient city in northern Iraq.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown, who has been working with the community since 2015, told this website Iraqi politicians are now refusing to disperse any of the needed aid funds to the area in and around Sinjar.

"There is no aid, there is no reconstruction, there are landmines and mass graves and political disputes and reconstruction can't begin because Sinjar hasn't been de-mined," she said, last month in an interview.

Brown, who had also helped mount a case of genocide against the Islamic State at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, says Iraqi government forces to drive out the militants have made it somewhat safer for the Yazidis to return home.

"Now we need the Iraqi government to hire the Yazidis and make them part of the security. I think that is a very concrete action that I think the Iraqi government and international community can support," she said.

The EU maintains humanitarian funding is going to Ninewa governorate, where Sinjar town is located, to assist vulnerable people, including Yazidis. The funding apparently goes towards health care, education in emergencies, as well as assistance in response to flooding in Sinjar.

But Brown says the money is not reaching the people because local political authorities "don't really care about the Yazidi population".

"There has been mistakes on the local level but there is a larger collective failure. Everyone should be doing more," she added.

Caritas, an international aid organisation, is now promoting Nadia's Initiative to help bring some solutions, says most of the EU funding is going to Mosul, Telfar, and Hawija in west Anbar.

"It is another sign how the system is failing when the community of victims is responsible of ensuring that justice prevails," said Shannon Pfohman, a policy and advocacy director for Caritas Europa.

War crimes and delays

Survivors who fled to Turkey, after being hunted by radicalised militants, are also having to wait until 2022 for appointments with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

"Due to the increase in the number asylum-seekers especially in the last few years, there are waiting periods throughout the process," said the UNHCR, in a statement on Tuesday (3 July), when asked to explain the 2022 date.

It noted people also have to go through Turkish authorities for processing and that appointment dates with the UNHCR are automatically generated by a scheduling software.

Such delays are part of a broader frustration to help the community, targeted by the Islamic State in a deliberate campaign to exterminate them.

The militants had in August 2014 laid siege to the city, displacing up to 300,000 people, and kidnapped thousands of women and children, who then suffered horrific abuse.

The United Nations Human Rights Office had in a report said Isis may have perpetrated a genocide against the Yezhidi, noting crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Stories of women and children being held captive, tortured and enslaved, gripped international attention as the armed militia indiscriminately slaughtered thousands.

Statistics are difficult to obtain.

Yazda, an NGO based in Iraq, estimates only around a few thousand, out of the 90,000 who fled Iraq, ended up in Europe. It says many try to reach Europe but are turned back at the border with Bulgaria.

It also remains unclear how many obtained asylum given ethnicity is not registered during applications.

But last year, over 52,000 people from Iraq applied for international protection in Europe, less than half the number registered in 2016.

More than half of Iraqi applicants were counted in Germany and Greece. Around 60 percent obtained refugee status and around 35 percent a subsidiary protection status.

This article was updated on 6 July 2018 at 9:00 with an additional quote from Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown.

German asylum row renews threat to unseat Merkel

Merkel's interior minister Horst Seehofer has threatened to resign over asylum. The bitter dispute risks tipping the historic balance between the centre-right CDU party and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU.

Analysis

EU 'migration summit': big on promises, short on detail

Big on promises and short on detail, the EU summit's focus on migration failed to tackle the fractured nature of asylum, leaving the prospect of internal border controls unanswered as leaders appeared to issue victory statements.

Belgian mayor invites Orban to migrant-diverse town

Winner of 'World's Best Mayor', Mechelen's Bart Somers has invited Hungary's PM to visit. "You know, in the whole of Hungary with 10million inhabitants, they have less Muslims than we have in a small city of 90,000," he told EUobserver.

Opinion

Next EU aid budget - less private finance tools, please

EU foreign ministers meets on Monday to discuss the most contentious part - private finance tools - of aid in the 2021-2027 budget. We believe private companies have a role - but with strict conditions.

EU aid pushing Libyan refugees back to war-hit Libya

At least 17 Libyans were returned to their war-torn country after attempting to flee on boats towards Europe. Their fates, along with many others, remain unknown as the EU-backed Libyan Coast Guard sweeps up people en masse.

Erdogan warns Europe of new migration crisis

Turkey's president Erdogan said more violence in the north-western Syrian province of Idlib would trigger a new migration crisis "felt by all European countries."

News in Brief

  1. 'No objection in principle' on Huawei cooperation, EU says
  2. French aircraft carrier goes to Middle East amid tensions
  3. EU suggests temporary ban on facial recognition
  4. EU industry cries foul on Chinese restrictions
  5. 'Devil in detail', EU warns on US-China trade deal
  6. Trump threatened EU-tariffs over Iran, Germany confirms
  7. EU trade commissioner warns UK of 'brinkmanship'
  8. Germany strikes coal phase-out deal

Interview

EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration

Europe's obsession with migration from Africa means it risks losing out the continent's potential when it comes to trade, says the EU's ambassador to the African Union, Ranier Sabatucci. "Africa is a growing continent, it is the future," he says.

Feature

Malmo, a segregated city - separating fact from fiction

Despite the neighbourhood's beautiful name, the reputation of Rosengård (Rose Garden) does not so much evoke images of roses as headlines of crime and social challenges. This area of Malmö has been struggling with its notorious, mythical, image for years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us