Friday

7th Oct 2022

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

Opinion

Could blockchain help EU process asylum claims?

Asylum proceedings are one of the biggest issues with the EU's migration policy, and digital identification through blockchain to register and track refugees would be an instrumental step towards the level of necessary reform.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden: Nord Stream probe points to 'gross sabotage'
  2. Orbán rails against Russia sanctions at Prague summit
  3. MEPs urge inquiry into Mahsa Amini killing and Iran sanctions
  4. Thousands of Hungarian students and teachers protest
  5. Swedish MEP cuts hair mid-speech to support Iran women
  6. Danish general election called for 1 November
  7. Slovenia legalises gay marriage, adoption
  8. Russia's stand-in EU ambassador reprimanded on Ukraine

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  2. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  3. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  4. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  5. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”

Latest News

  1. What actually happened at the 'most complicated election in the world'?
  2. Europe lays aside quarrels to isolate Putin
  3. Spyware-hacked MEPs still seeking answers
  4. EU leaders discuss gas price cap — amid rationing fear
  5. Germany braces for criticism of national €200bn energy fund
  6. The fossil-fuel agenda behind EU's carbon-capture plans
  7. Four weeks to COP27 — key issues and challenges
  8. EU wants to see US list on Russia financing of politicians

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us