Why Are We Ignoring the Victims of Genocide in the Refugee Debates?

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Written by Jennifer Breedon (October 2016)

In the Kurdistan region of Northern Iraq, Christians and Yazidis have come together as targets of the ongoing genocidal strategy by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) to wipe them off the map. Not just eliminating their bodies and transforming their bloodline, but wiping out their very existence from the pages of history.

The last presidential debate touched on the need to arm the Kurdish forces who have been the sole protectors of the safest zone for minorities in Iraq: the Kurdistan region of Northern Iraq.

I spoke with Jennifer Salcido of the International Veterans Alliance who traveled to a Yazidi village in the Sinjar Province in the Kurdistan region, where thousands of people have fled from ISIS to safe regions in the mountains where Kurdish forces have been able to thwart off the terror group’s advances.

Ms. Salcido witnessed the mass graves of Yazidi victims who were burned alive by ISIS jihadis. From the mountaintops of the village they could see ISIS camps. They also saw “coalition planes” fly by. She stated:

The general told us we were the first American civilians to visit the mass graves of Sinjar, and that not a single politician from the U.S. had gone there as of February 2016. While there, we visited three mass graves where between 30-80 people were slaughtered. In one of the mass graves of Sinjar, 84 women had been slaughtered. Among them, was a 25-year-old pregnant woman. All I could do was break down in anguish and tears at the sight of the horror. Before our eyes, we watched ISIS burn down a village four miles away from us while U.S.-led coalition planes flew over but did not bomb the ISIS camp areas. The soldiers were in tears as they watched their villages burn down with no idea why the U.S. was not helping more.

Today, we see dozens of articles on the issue of Middle East refugees being brought to America for safe haven during the Syrian war and scourge of ISIS, but there is no place for the victims of genocide in those numbers.

Although the United Nations (UN) Refugee Camps in the area have taken in the people escaping the Syrian war and spread of ISIS rule, Christians and Yazidis cannot even find safe haven there under constant threat of the vast majority Muslim populations within the camps.

Even though many refugee Muslims may show kindness to Christians or Yazidis within the camps, they cannot protect them from those that pose a threat to religious minorities—those they consider the “enemies of Allah.”

The UN Refugee Resettlement Agency that vets the refugees that will come to the United States (or elsewhere) begins its very lengthy vetting process within their refugee camps, so it is no wonder that less than 1% of the actual targets of genocide — those who do not have extremist jilhadi elements within their population — are being admitted to the United States.

(Of the 10,800 Syrian refugees admitted, only 56 are Christian.) Of the July refugee arrivals, 1,501 (99%) were Sunnis, and 3 (0.19%) were Christian. The other 11 (0.72%) were “other Muslim.”

It is time we call upon our leaders to protect and prevent the ongoing genocide and enable the forces that are carrying out that mission.

This article was originally published at clarionproject.org. 

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