This report and campaign are dedicated to the Yezidi people of Iraq and Syria and honor all Yezidis who lost their lives at the hands of ISIS, the Yezidi women, girls and boys enslaved by ISIS, and the Yezidis missing family members murdered by ISIS, especially the orphaned Yezidi children who now live without the love, security, care and protection of their beloved parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
Yezidis, you inspire the world every day. Yezidis, you are not forgotten. Your human rights will be recognized and enforced for the benefit of the Yezidi community and other religious and ethnic minority communities around the globe needing recognition and protection just like yours.
A special thanks to all the brave Yezidis who advocate for their people, including the two Yezidis who provided victim impact statements to the report as Jane Doe - Yezidi Woman and John Doe - Yezidi Man.
The Yezidis, who total about 1 million persons worldwide, practice one of the world’s oldest religions. The Yezidis are a peaceful, insular community. Before the attacks by ISIS, most Iraqi Yezidis report living happily among other Yezidis, largely in rural, farming communities as well as in the mountainous area of Mt. Sinjar.
Yezidis are born into their religion and do not convert non-Yezidis to Yezidism as this is not permitted. Marriage by Yezidis outside of the Yezidi community is also not permitted. The Yezidis' Holy Place of Worship is Lalish, Iraq, where Yezidi priests and other religious safeguard and keep holy the Yezidi temples and burial grounds. Yezidis travel to Lalish for holy pilgrimages for blessings, prayers and religious ceremonies and celebrations. Yezidis are encouraged to visit Lalish, Iraq, in their lifetime. Prayer, dance, music and food are very important to Yezidis and are an integral component of their religious and cultural identity. Yezidi temples, many of which were destroyed by ISIS and others in the past decade, can be found in Iraq, Syria and Turkey where Yezidis have resided for centuries.
Outside of Iraq, the largest Yezidi temple is in Armenia.
Yezidis believe in God. In Yezidi creation stories, God created the world and entrusted it to the care of seven Holy Beings, often referred to as the Seven Angels. The most preeminent of whom is Tawûsê Melek, the Peacock Angel. Yezidis are also often referred to as Children of the Sun as another important facet of the Yezidi faith is their belief in the oneness with nature. Yezidis pray three to five times each day. When Yezidis pray, they face the sun. The sun represents the source of energy or ultimate truth. The sun is sacred for Yezidis and seen by them as the emanation of God.
Unfortunately throughout history the Yezidi people, who once numbered in the millions in the Middle East, have been subjected to more than 70 genocides. Yezidis have been persecuted for their faith by their neighbors who have tried to wipe out the ancient Yezidi people, either through actual murder or through forced religious conversion. Throughout their history, Yezidis have also been ethnically cleansed of their ancestral homes and villages in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and other places in the Middle East. As a result, over the centuries, many Yezidis have had to flee countries such as Iraq, Syria and Turkey where they have been persecuted. Yezidis have migrated and immigrated to safer countries in Western and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia, where they can live more peacefully. Additionally, Yezidis have a growing diaspora who now live in the United States, Canada and Australia.
The Yezidis, who total about 1 million persons worldwide, practice one of the world’s oldest religions. The Yezidis are a peaceful, insular community.
Unfortunately throughout their history, the Yezidi people, who once numbered in the millions in the Middle East, have been subjected to multiple genocides - some experts state up to 74 genocides. Yezidis have been persecuted for their faith by their neighbors who have tried to wipe out the ancient Yezidi people, either through actual murder or through forced religious conversion. Throughout the centuries, Yezidis have also been ethnically cleansed of their ancestral homes in Iraq.
Yezidis, also commonly spelled Yazidis, Ezidis, and Azidis, practice one of the world's oldest religions that was founded in the Middle East, a region which was once rich with many smaller religions and religious communities. The Yezidi have friendly ties to Christianity, Judaism and many other religions.
Yezidis are a peaceful people who recognize a supreme being responsible for creating the Earth, which is overseen by seven angels. The Mashaf Reš, or Black Book, one of Yazidis' two main holy books, teaches that the most important of the holy angels, Tawûsê Melek, refused to bow down to Adam — making him an infidel in the eyes of some. Yezidis have been targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS), which has launched a campaign to "purify" Iraq and neighboring countries of non-Islamist influences.
You can help by supporting Yezidi organizations which are dedicated to assisting Yezidis recover from the most recent genocide. Please visit www.nlhelptyezidis.org and our partner organizations to learn how to become involved and donate. Thank you for your support.
Your financial support enables us to fund our justice campaign in an effort improve conditions for Yezidis suffering the impact of genocide.
Thank you for your support,
The NLHY Team
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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