By Jennifer Breedon
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Jennifer Breedon joined with the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow and other partners in a press conference hosted by One Free World International (OFWI).
The purpose of the conference was to speak about the ongoing Yazidi genocide in Iraq and call on Canada’s government to do more to protect the Yazidi people — specifically through allowing them priority refugee status.
“When a ‘genocide’ is declared, there is an international legal obligation to prevent and protect the targets of the genocide. In taking strategic steps to give priority refugee status to Yazidi victims in Iraq, Canada now has an opportunity to be the only government to fulfil this legal duty — something the UN, EU and United States have failed to do despite their acknowledgement of an ongoing genocide,” said Breedon.
Raheel Raza, president of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow and a member of Clarion’s advisory board, said, “We are pleased that Canada has recognized that there is a genocide against the Yazidi people, but now we must do more as a country to protect women who have been forced into horrendous atrocities by the Islamic State, and we are doing nothing while they continue to be systematically tortured. We must send a message as a free government that provides protection and freedoms for refugees and immigrants.”
The Conference included a proposal by OFWI and its strategic partners asking the Canadian parliament to provide details on efforts in locating a way out of Iraq and into Canda for the most targeted Yazidi women and their families and giving them as priority status.
Rev. Majed El Shafie, president and founder of OFWI commented, “As a Christian convert in a Muslim country, I fled to Canada where I was allowed freedom, life and hope. But this country is now failing to allow these protections for victims of an ongoing genocide as my Yazidi brothers and sisters suffer at the hands of Islamic extremists and have no hope or refuge that Canada could easily provide them.
“It is good the [Canadian] government is finally acting to help the Yazidi people, but there is still a long road ahead and a lot of work to do. We hope to see specific steps that our government will take to ensure the protection of the Yazidis.”
Geoffrey Clarfield, executive director of the Mozuud Freedom Foundation noted, “We have people on the ground in Iraq who can [aid] Canadian officials to make sure the most vulnerable Yazidi are saved from ISIL.”
This article was originally published at clarionproject.org.