http://diyaruna.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_di/features/2017/08/10/feature-01

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Human Rights |

Iraq to create programmes to care for Yazidi children recovered from ISIS

By Khalid al-Taie

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Iraqi forces found these Yazidi children, Dalia and Samar, in Mosul on July 6th. They had been abducted by the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' when the group overran Sinjar in 2014. Both children have been returned to their parents. [Photo courtesy of the Iraqi Ministry of Defence]

Since Iraqi forces ousted the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) from Mosul, more evidence of the group's abuses of Yazidi children has come to light.

ISIS abducted thousands of Yazidi women and children when it invaded Sinjar in August 2014, among them two children known only by their first names, Dalia and Samar.

The two were kidnapped and traded from one person to another before security forces found them in Mosul on July 6th and handed them over to their parents.

But the children were in dire need of psychological rehabilitation, as they had completely forgotten their mother tongue and had no memory of their lives before the kidnapping.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has been working to provide a "safe and healthy environment" for all children found by the security forces, said Abeer Jalabi, head of the ministry's Women and Child Welfare Authority.

"During the period of their abduction, they lived bitter lives and they have to be cared for," she told Diyaruna.

"We are working on creating standard rehabilitation programmes for psycho-social support to restore the children's normal lives," she said, stressing that all abused children are dealt with from a humanitarian perspective.

The Iraqi government on July 24th announced it has set up an emergency programme to care for children of unknown parentage found in Mosul.

Jalabi stressed that this programme includes all children, including Yazidis, and said the ministry has equipped the orphanages to receive them from the security forces and provide care until their families arrive to claim them.

"As for children who are not identified, they will be placed in orphanages and receive all the accommodations and educational services received by the rest of the orphans," she said.

Yazidis need governmental support

According to the latest data published by the Directorate of Yazidi Affairs at the Kurdish region's Ministry of Endowments on August 2nd, the number of Yazidi children who have survived since ISIS's occupation of Sinjar, has so far reached 1655 children.

But the fate of 3,325 abductees, mostly women and children, remains unknown.

The attack on the city has also left 2,745 Yazidi orphans, the data showed.

Iraqi MP Haji Kendor, who represents the Yazidi community, told Diyaruna that Yazidi survivors, especially children, need government support.

"The terrorist disaster they suffered was great and currently requires great efforts to erase its effects," he said.

"Special centres and clinics should be opened to treat and care for Yazidi children and women," he said, noting that the victims will require psychological assistance to overcome the experience and restore their confidence.

"We have a heavy legacy of terrorist crimes that can only be addressed through a long-term and comprehensive plan," he said.

"We have not yet recorded the return of any Yazidi woman from the terrorists’ captivity with any child or children with her," he added.

"We heard from many Yazidi female survivors they were taking birth control pills on the order of their terrorist rapists so they would not have children," said Khadida Khalaf Eido, who represents the Yazidis on the Ninawa provincial council.

"The Yazidi community has stood with raped Yazidi women, as the Yazidi religious authority Baba Sheikh has asked for the respectful treatment of these women," he told Diyaruna, adding that many have since married Yazidi men.

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