EU Calls for Swift Implementation of the Sinjar Agreement

EU Calls for Swift Implementation of the Sinjar Agreement

Shafaq News/ The European Union (EU) on Thursday urged the governments of Iraq and the Kurdistan region to expedite the implementation of the Sinjar agreement in a bid to secure core civil services to the Yazidi community that continues to suffer the reverberations of ISIS attempts to exterminate this Kurdish minority.

"The EU stands firmly behind Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, with full respect to its ethnic and religious diversity," the statement read, acknowledging the Iraqi Government's efforts to protect vulnerable communities and specifically highlighting the Yazidis.

The statement emphasized the urgent need for both the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to expedite the implementation of the Sinjar Agreement. This includes the critical appointment of a mayor for Sinjar, re-establishing core civil services, and the recruitment of 2,500 local security personnel.

"With the adoption of the Federal Budget the recruitment of 2500 local security personnel, as stipulated by the Agreement, can proceed without further delay," the EU urged. They also encouraged cooperative efforts with the United Nations and the international community.

Emphasizing the necessity of sustainable solutions, the EU outlined specific initiatives that should be undertaken with a gender perspective, such as ensuring access to basic services, mental health support, and economic opportunities. "These should aim at the enjoyment of their civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights," the statement explained.

The statement welcomed the adoption of the Yazidi Female Survivors Law and a decree of Yazidi land ownership, with a strong call for immediate and complete implementation.

The EU called for promoting accountability for atrocities committed by ISIS/Da’esh against the Yazidi community, recognizing the Yazidi diaspora's valuable contribution to EU society.

"As long-term supporter of the rights and protection of the Yazidi community, the EU leads international efforts to promote accountability for the atrocities committed by Da’esh against them," the statement concluded.

Sinjar is a Yazidi-majority town in Iraq's northern Nineveh governorate that suffered heavily during the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) onslaught in 2014, leading to genocide and other systematic abuses against its communities.

With ISIS no longer a major threat, political disorder and security skirmishes continue to impede the recovery of the war-scarred community.

Sinjar is considered one of fourteen disputed territories claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil, which is defined by the rivalry between government and territory control. Additionally, as Sinjar shares borders with Syria's al-Hasakah province to the northwest and Turkey's Silopi province to the northeast, it remains in a regional quandary.

Under the auspices of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) signed on October 29, 2020, a security and stability agreement for the district of Sinjar, aiming for reconciliation.

In terms of security, the agreement calls for the deportation of all armed groups and the appointment of 2,500 local security forces to Sinjar. However, the call for local police to re-control the area remains vital—absent implementation. The agreement also mentions the withdrawal of the Kurdistan Workers Party from the Sinjar district. The PKK moved to Sinjar with the advantage of a security vacuum in 2014 as the ISIS attacks ensued. Soon after the establishment of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a political wing was founded under the Sinjar Democratic Autonomous Council and Yazidi Freedom and Democracy Party. With the PKK’s integration and the recruitment of Yazidis to the YBS to help with the area’s security, it created further obstacles to the group’s departure.

However, despite the repeated calls from the KRG, the agreement introduced to the public with minimal consultation for the local community remains with stalled with a little appetite for implantation.

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