The Iraqi government decided on 27 December to return the properties of Yazidis in Sinjar (Şengal) 47 years after they was confiscated and the Yazidis forcibly deported from their home region, reported Asharq Al-Awsat.
Almost half a century after the previous Iraqi regime deported Yazidis from their home region and confiscated their lands, the Iraqi Council of Ministers has made a decision in the matter of those lands.
The Ba’ath regime under Saddam Hussain regime in 1975 confiscated the property of Yazidis in 146 villages located in the Sinjar Mountain area, demolishing houses and blocking wells and springs with cement. “You can live according to the Yazidi faith, but you are not Kurds, you are Arabs,” said Saddam Hussain at the time.
“The decision includes the ownership of lands belonging to Yazidis in the Sinjar district of Nineveh Governorate, which has not been used as a settlement since 1975,” the Council of Ministers said in a statement.
A source close to the Council of Ministers told Asharq Al-Awsat that the decision sums up the suffering of an important segment of Iraqi society, namely the Yazidi component, because of the injustice and exclusion it suffered during the era of the previous regime.
“the fields and orchards of these villages were razed. Later the displaced population were forcibly gathered into 11 compounds established to the north and south of Mount Sinjar, and prevented from approaching their demolished villages again,” said the official.
During the war against ISIS, around 7,000 Yazidi women and girls were abducted and held in sexual slavery. Survivors reported being repeatedly sold, gifted, and passed around among ISIS fighters.
Since the end of the war, most of the women and children traumatised by the abductions and rape by ISIS members in 2014 have received psychological help and therapy.
Around 550,000 Yazidis have been living in Iraq’s rugged northwest, concentrated around the enclave of Sinjar.