Human Rights

Yazidi children born from rape denied inclusion into the community

Iraq

Iraqi birth laws and the non-proselytising nature of Yazidi religion have prevented children born from rape from entering the community.

The Supreme Yazidi Council has clarified its recent decision to take in all Yazidis who were kidnapped by ISIS.

Over the weekend, the council accepted the return of Yazidi women who were forced into sexual slavery by ISIS, but they stressed that the children they born from their captives are not to be taken in the community. According to the council, these children are not accepted because the Yazidi faith is non-missionary and does not accept children who follow other religions. This issue is further exasperated by the Iraqi Government who has announced that all children of ISIS are to be registered as Muslim in their ID despite the faith of their mothers.

As a result, many Yazidi women have abandoned their children in orphanages across the country to avoid the shame of bringing a child into the community while not being able to raise it.

However, many in the country say that the Yazidi women and their children should be accepted back or given a solution.

Former Yazidi member of parliament, Vian Dakhil, proposed that the international community give mothers in the Yazidi community the option of keeping their children and receiving asylum in a western country. That way the mothers are not forced to abandon their children in orphanages.

Nadia Murad, the Nobel Prize-winning Yazidi woman who was held captive by ISIS, said that the decision should ultimately rest with the mothers, although she acknowledged the difficulty of the situation.

“I believe this should be determined by the mothers of the children and their families, rather than the fact that some of us say [these women] should not bring their kids, while others say they should,” said Murad.

While there are no specific numbers regarding the mothers and children that will be affected by this decision, some estimates say that there are hundreds of children.

In some reported cases, some women have left their children who are fathered by ISIS militants with the wives of ISIS militants before fleeing ISIS territory. Others have also refused to identify themselves as Yazidis so that their children are not taken away from them.

Nonetheless, all of the options currently offered to these women have been cruel and force these women into making difficult decisions concerning their lives and those of their children.