Yazidi Genocide — [Mr Philip Hollobone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 8th February 2022.

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Photo of Brendan O'Hara Brendan O'Hara Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution), Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 9:30 am, 8th February 2022

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered the Yazidi genocide.

It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Mr Hollobone. I begin by thanking the Backbench Business Committee for giving time for this important debate.

On 3 August 2014, Daesh launched a violent attack against the Yazidis in Sinjar, in Iraq. A few days after that attack, it also attacked the Nineveh plains, forcing 120,000 people to flee for their lives in the middle of the night. Daesh fighters killed hundreds if not thousands of men, abducted boys to turn them into child soldiers, and kidnapped for sexual slavery thousands of women and girls, 2,763 of whom are still missing to this day. In a reign of terror lasting more than two years, Daesh murdered, enslaved, deported, and forcibly transferred women and children, and imprisoned, tortured, abducted, exploited, abused, raped, and forced women into marriage, across the region.

It was not until the allied forces finally started to recover regions of Iraq from Daesh that the sickening scale of what was happening to the Yazidis and other religious groups became clear. That is why, in April 2016, the House of Commons voted unanimously to recognise the atrocities committed by Daesh as genocide. That was the first ever such determination by the House of Commons, and it was made while the atrocities were still ongoing. Since then, however, the UK Government have steadfastly refused to follow suit; they have hidden behind the defence that somehow it is not for Governments to determine what is and is not a genocide, and that only a competent court or a tribunal can determine that.

In my time in this place, I have taken part in many debates that have called on the Government to recognise what has happened as a genocide. That happened most recently a couple of weeks ago, when we debated the findings of the Uyghur Tribunal in a debate secured by Ms Ghani; the Government again used the “competent court” defence to avoid taking a stance.