The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, welcomed the March 1 adoption of the Yazidi Survivors Act, which recognizes ISIL violations against women and girls from Yazidi, Turkish, Christian and Shabak minorities – including kidnapping, sexual slavery, forced marriage, pregnancy and abortion – like genocide and crimes against humanity.
“This is a major step towards promoting justice for crimes committed by ISIL,” she said.
Learn more about the law
In addition to providing reparation to victims, the law provides for compensation for survivors, as well as measures for their rehabilitation and reintegration into society, and the prevention of such crimes in the future.
It also offers pensions, the provision of land, housing and education, as well as a quota of employment in the public sector.
“When I visited Iraq in February last year, I witnessed the plight of Yazidi women and girls who had survived the atrocities committed by ISIL. Despite their remarkable resilience and strength to rebuild their lives, many continued to live in displacement and faced many challenges to achieve a lasting solution, ”said the UN independent expert.
Ms Jimenez-Damary called for “broad law enforcement” to cover survivors of other minorities as well.
Children born from rape
At the same time, the Special Rapporteur expressed deep concern about the situation of children born from the rape of ISIL fighters during the conflict.
Mothers often face obstacles in registering them due to the absence of a father – and children of Yazidi women born of ISIL’s sexual exploitation and slavery are not accepted in Yazidi communities.
“These children are at risk of being abandoned and these Yazidi mothers face the difficult choice of leaving their children or their community,” said Ms. Jimenez-Damary.
Unfortunately, this situation is not addressed by this law.
The UN rights expert called on the Iraqi government to strengthen mediation and social cohesion efforts, with the participation of those affected, to protect the rights of children and their mothers, and to work for “a solution sustainable to their displacement ”.
She also called on the international community to support victim-focused programs and initiatives in Iraq to this end, as well as to contribute to law enforcement.
The remarks of the Special Rapporteur were approved by Fabian Salvioli, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition; Mama Fatima Singhateh, Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children; and Tomoya Obokata, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences.
Special rapporteurs appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human rights council to examine and report on a specific human rights theme or situation in a country. Their positions are honorary and they are not paid for their work.