Yazidi Focused Aid Organisation Shut Down By KRG

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A local aid agency was raided by Kurdish Asayish security personnel on Monday night, who threw staff out of their Duhok offices and put new locks on the doors, according to members of the board.

Yazda, which has been instrumental in supporting the work of prominent campaigner Nadia Murad, provides aid to the Yazidi community, especially in the arena of psychosocial support to women who have suffered at the hands of ISIL.

In recent weeks Yazda has been vocal about the blockade imposed on Sinjar and surrounding areas, with the KRG accused by Human Rights Watch of placing “disproportionate restrictions on the movement of goods into and out of the district.” The KRG insists that it is concerned about goods such as food, fuel and car parts getting into the hands of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has maintained a presence in Sinjar since soon after ISIL took the town in August 2014.

The PKK was part of a large disjointed force that eventually retook the town, alongside Syrian Kurdish YPG/YPJ units and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga from both the KDP and PUK. When Sinjar was liberated in November 2015 some Yazidis were angered with the way in which the KDP took credit, accusing the Peshmerga of having previously abandoned them to the their fate.

The community is divided as to how to maintain its safety. There are Yazidi Peshmerga units, but also a PKK supported militia, the YBS. KDP officials told HRW in December that the YBS represents a “significant security concern.” With the KDP controlling the only major road into Sinjar not under ISIL control, the town is reliant on the Kurdish authorities to allow trade.

Farmers told HRW that they were prevented from taking wheat or sheep from Sinjar into the KRG.

In the only statement so far, Dr. Dindar Zebari, head of the KRG’s High Committee to Evaluate and Respond to International Reports, told Rudaw English that Yazda had failed to abide by rules, and had stepped outside of their organisational mission.

Yazda responded by saying that they had had no warning of the action, and that they have received no paperwork, reason or indication of when the organisation might be able to resume delivering aid and support.

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