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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Trip to Iraq: Baerbock: bring the crimes of the terrorist militia IS to justice

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Around a million people are still living as internally displaced persons after the crimes committed by the terrorist militia Islamic State in Iraq. Foreign Minister Baerbock is shocked when she visits a refugee camp.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called for consistent punishment for the crimes committed by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia. “What happened here to the Yazidis was genocide,” said the Green politician while visiting a camp for internally displaced persons in the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq near the Turkish border. “The crimes that were committed against the people and the very, very many children I met here must be brought to justice,” the minister demanded.

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A few years ago, the IS terrorist militia controlled large areas in Iraq and Syria. The jihadists have been considered militarily defeated since 2017, but IS cells continue to carry out attacks. When the jihadists overran the region around the Sinjar mountains in northern Iraq in 2014, they killed and abducted thousands of people. Many women were enslaved and raped. The United Nations speaks of genocide against the ethnic-religious minority of Yazidis living there. In January, the Bundestag officially recognized the crimes of IS as genocide.

Baerbock: Without justice there is no chance of healing

More than 12,000 internally displaced people live in the Qadiya refugee camp in Dohuk province. Most of them are Yazidis from the Sinjar region. After the crimes committed by the terrorist militia, around one million people are still internally displaced in Iraq – a good 210,000 of them Yazidis.

Baerbock said prosecuting ISIS crimes is a tedious process. “But if there is no justice, then there is no chance of healing. Then there is no chance of reconciliation and then there is no chance of a future.”

In the camp, she met children who had been abducted and abused as seven-year-olds or had been brainwashed as child soldiers, Baerbock reported, shocked. Others were forced to kill with guns when they were in elementary school.

She met girls who were abducted as children and kept as sex slaves. These young people “also trust that we will not turn a blind eye. That we will continue the tedious work and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

In Germany, two perpetrators have already been held accountable, said Baerbock. “You can feel that here on site: the world doesn’t look away.” At that time, the world did not look closely enough to save people from genocide. “That’s why we, as the international community, have an even greater responsibility to prosecute these crimes” – be it in Iraq, in Germany, if the perpetrators are there, or at international level, the minister stressed.

Playing football against the horror of the terrorist militia

In the Qadiya refugee camp, Baerbock talked to former child soldiers. In a soccer project for girls run by the non-governmental organization “Hawar.help” (German: Help), she slipped on a red sports shirt with her name on the back and played a round. In a center of the organization “Lotus Flower”, where traumatized children and adolescents are cared for, she put on boxing gloves and took part in sports therapy.

The minister then visited an orphan school where more than 400 children are taught. The project, which was founded by a Yazidi who grew up in Oldenburg and also has a solar system, also includes a kindergarten.

Baerbock assures Kurds of help for refugees

After a meeting with the Prime Minister of the Kurdish autonomous regions in northern Iraq, Masrur Barsani, in the Kurdish capital of Erbil, Baerbock assured the Iraqi Kurds of broad support for the reintegration of around one million internally displaced persons.

“No one wants to live in a camp all their lives,” she said. “That’s why it’s important for us that people can return to their homeland” and that they can lead a life in dignity there.

Federal Foreign Office with a political portrait of Iraq Bundeswehr on operations in Jordan and Iraq Current deployment numbers of the Bundeswehr Bundeswehr on the base in Erbil Federal Foreign Office to support the Yazidis in northern Iraq

Source: Stern

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