AUGUST 5, 2016

Toronto, ON – Today, in conjunction with the PC Party of Ontario, senior critics in the Conservative Party of Canada held an event to commemorate the second anniversary of the massacre of thousands of Yazidis by the Islamic State (ISIS) at Mount Sinjar.

“ISIS continues to commit genocide against the Yazidi people of northern Iraq. Thousands of Yazidi women and girls remain held in captivity by ISIS soldiers, and are being raped, mutilated, and sold on open slave markets. The world cannot be silent on these atrocities,” said the Hon. Peter Kent, Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs. “We, in the official opposition believe that Canada is compelled to restore a more robust combat mission to the allied coalition to defeat ISIS.”

In June 2016, the United Nations (UN) released a report declaring that ISIS had committed genocide against the Yazidi people. The report contained numerous recommendations for the international community to immediately support victims.

“At a parliamentary committee earlier this month, we heard devastating testimony about how Yazidis face persecution and systemic discrimination by officials even in refugee camps. Over objections from the bureaucracy, our former government attempted to prioritize persecuted religious, ethnic, and sexual minorities for resettlement in Canada. Other countries like Germany have brought thousands of Yazidis to their countries through special prioritization. The Liberal government must immediately act to bring Yazidi victims of genocide to Canada, and that means using political will to overcome the inertia presented by bureaucrats,” said the Hon. Michelle Rempel, Official Opposition Immigration Critic.

Official Opposition Defence Critic James Bezan said more needs to be done to prevent the spread of ISIS, and to rescue the Yazidi people. “Even the UN is calling upon member-states to consider rescue missions for Yazidi people. This government pulled Canada out of the international coalition to contain IS. That action is wrong, and we need to do more before the Yazidi people are wiped off the face of the earth,” said Bezan.

Assisting the Yazidi people also means ensuring that Canada’s international aid contributions are directly assisting Yazidi victims of genocide. “The United Nations has recommended that aid be directed to support the unique mental and physical health needs of the Yazidi people. We also need to actively monitor whether or not aid is getting to these people, since many of them have difficulties reaching or staying in refugee camps due to the persecution that they face,” said Dean Allison, Official Opposition Critic for International Development.

In Canada, various ethno-cultural communities have emerged in support of this cause. “The outpouring of generosity and willingness to help from Jewish, Assyrian, Armenian, Coptic and Mennonite organizations is a testament to the gravity of the situation that the Yazidi people face. Canadians are genuinely engaged in this issue and expect more from their governments,” said Thornhill MPP Gila Martow.

“It is clear that an immediate response is needed to ensure that the Yazidi people are saved from extinction. Canada has a duty to assist them, and we call upon the government to form a task force to coordinate efforts across government to act,” concluded Kent.