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Flavia Togni: Transitional Justice Approach for the Yazidi Diaspora in Europe


Almost 9 years after the start of the Yazidi genocide by ISIS, over 200,000 Yazidis remain internally displaced in Kurdistan, Northern of Iraq , and more than 2,700 women and children are still held captive by ISIS. Besides, ’Practical initiatives to directly bring justice to Yazidi victims have been rare in the eight years since the genocide.

According to Flavia Togni, an independent researcher and program leader at the Atlantic Forum, ‘‘It is odd that there hasn't been more concrete action, especially given that a number of European nations have opened their borders to both victims and offenders. Over 120,000 Yazidis are thought to have applied for asylum in Europe since 2014, and 2,500 former European ISIS combatants are thought to have come home.’’

Also, different European parliaments recognized the crimes against the Yezidis as a genocide, Germany very recently. ‘’However, apart from the stated promise of justice, critics and the Yazidi community have raised the question of the relevance of such recognitions as it remains unclear what practical consequences these parliamentary motions in fact have.’’ Togni adds.

When it comes to justice and accountability for what the terrorist of Islamic State (IS) have done, relatively little is understood from the European Yazidi diaspora’s perspective and the in the views of Yezidis. Also, the diaspora's security concerns are made worse by their perception of being unable to discuss the genocide in public. According to Togni ‘’Yazidis in Europe mention getting online threats from various individuals and organizations in Europe and Iraq who support ISIS' treatment of the Yazidis when talking about certain ongoing effects of the genocide, such as the women and girls currently held captive by ISIS. These dangers put their sense of safety in Europe in jeopardy and cause them to worry for their family.

The dominant security narrative needs to be rethought going ahead because it only acknowledges the crimes of 2014 while ignoring everyday insecurities as they are felt and understood by the Yezidi community.

‘’Bridging this gap is possible but doing so requires more nuanced research and cooperation across disciplines and agencies’’ according to Togni.

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