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Sunday, 04 August 2019 14:23

UN SRSG visits Sinjar on 5th anniversary of Da’esh atrocities, salutes Yazidis’ bravery, highlights continued suffering and reiterates call for unified administration and stable security structures

Sinjar, Iraq, 4 August 2019 – Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, visited Sinjar on the fifth anniversary of the gross atrocities committed by Da’esh against Iraq’s Yazidi community. During the visit, she saluted the survivors’ bravery, highlighted the continuing plight of the Yazidis and reiterated her call for urgent action to ensure stable governance and security arrangements.


In visits with Yazidi spiritual, political and local leaders as well as in separate commemorations in Baghdad and in Dohuk over the last three days, the Special Representative stressed time and again that the United Nations will not forget. It is high time that the survivors, whose bravery we salute, be given the opportunity to return home and rebuild their lives in safety and dignity, she stated.

“Yesterday I visited Sinjar, once again – including Kocho. And yes, I continue to be shocked by the scars of horrific destruction still so visible”, the Special Representative said. “I had the opportunity to speak with several survivors. They feel left out, they feel alone, they feel abandoned, and understandably so. While they call Iraq home, they wonder whether the authorities - in Baghdad and Erbil - consider them to be Iraqis. Their suffering continues, in so many ways, and years after the liberation of Sinjar”.

In Kocho village, Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert met with local officials and heard from survivors, men and women who tearfully recounted their ordeal and sought help in locating their missing loved ones. Before walking across the village to pause and reflect at the site of a mass grave, she also toured an art exhibition presented by artists from other areas of Iraq in solidarity with their Yazidi countryfolk. Later, she travelled to the village of Solagh, where she delivered occupancy certificates of rebuilt homes to Yazidi families under a UN-Habitat project.

The destruction of houses in Sinjar as well as the lack of ownership registration and occupancy documents are among the major obstacles to voluntary, dignified and sustainable returns. In the past years, UN-Habitat has rehabilitated more than 1,200 houses and delivered more than 2,800 occupancy certificates.

The continued suffering in Sinjar, several years after its liberation, prompted Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert to again travel to the area in northwestern Iraq. She drove home her call for urgent action to resolve security and administrative issues, including the unhindered flow of humanitarian assistance to enable safe and dignified returns.

“In the spirit of openness and with the desire to improve the lives of all affected communities, I ask the following questions today: Why do we still not have stable governance and security structures in Sinjar, so many years after it was liberated? Why are rival security actors still present? Why is humanitarian action still being obstructed by lack of access? Why do we still not have a unified administration?”

On Sunday, August 4, the Special Representative concluded her visit by stating that she sincerely hopes that soon the collective commitment will be reaffirmed, to turn the page and offer all those affected a future they can believe in.

For more information, please contact: Mr. Samir Ghattas, Director of Public Information/Spokesperson
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Phone: +964 790 193 1281, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or the UNAMI Public Information Office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNAMI
Last modified on Sunday, 04 August 2019 14:27