“Do you know why the world remains silent?” - Nemam, age 14, Bajed Kandala Camp, Iraqi Kurdistan, January 2019
In the still dark early morning hours of August 3, 2014, the self-declared terrorist group—the Islamic State—attacked the Iraqi city of Sinjar and launched a genocidal campaign against the Yazidis, an ethno-religious minority whose origins are in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Within hours an estimated 5,000 Yazidis–mostly men and elderly women–were executed, young boys were pressed into military service and forced to commit attacks of violence against their families and more than 6,000 women and children were abducted, most to be sexually enslaved. Those not initially killed fled on foot, many to nearby Mt. Sinjar.
For days the world watched as tens of thousands of Yazidis remained trapped on top of the mountain as ISIS soldiers circled below. Hundreds died of dehydration, heat and suicide before humanitarian aid was delivered and a safety corridor was created for their escape.
The Yazidi community has been victim to 74 genocidal attacks, a stunning number that far surpasses that of any other group of people in human history.
Eight years after the attack on Sinjar, some Yazidis have returned to Sinjar—a city still largely in ruins—but more than 200,000 survivors remain displaced throughout Iraqi Kurdistan, many of whom live in internally displaced person (IDP) camps in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. More than 2,700 people remain missing.
Located just miles miles from the Iraqi-Turkish border, the Bajad Kandela camp is home to approximately 9,000 displaced Yazidis, the majority of who have lived in this camp since 2014.
The Yazidi men women and children in these images are among those who are living proof of the world’s most recent genocide.