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International

UK acknowledges genocide was committed against Yazidis by Islamic State

18:36, Tuesday, 01 August, 2023
UK acknowledges genocide was committed against Yazidis by Islamic State

Britain on Tuesday formally acknowledged that acts of genocide were committed against minority Yazidis by Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq in 2014, ahead of the nine-year anniversary of the crimes.

The acknowledgement comes after a German court in 2021 jailed a former IS militant for life for involvement in genocide and crimes against humanity against Yazidis in Iraq and Syria. German lawmakers have also recognised that genocide crimes were committed by IS militants in Iraq.

"The Yazidi population suffered immensely at the hands of Daesh nine years ago and the repercussions are still felt to this day," Britain's minister of state for the Middle East, Tariq Ahmad, said in a statement. "Justice and accountability are key for those whose lives have been devastated."

The Yazidis are an ancient religious minority in eastern Syria and northwest Iraq that Islamic State viewed as supposed devil worshippers for their faith that combines Zoroastrian, Christian, Manichean, Jewish and Muslim beliefs.

The jihadist group killed thousands of Yazidis, enslaved 7,000 Yazidi women and girls and displaced most of the 550,000-strong community from their ancestral home in northern Iraq.

Britain, which officially recognises only four other historic instances, including the Holocaust as genocide, said it would continue to help lead global efforts against IS propaganda.

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