Since the emergence of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) in 2003, the terrorist militia has carried out targeted campaigns to annihilate many ethno-religious minorities, including Christians, Shiite Muslims, Shiite Turkmen, Shiite Shabaks, as well as Yazidis. Their persecution of the Yazidis was particularly cruel. On August 3 and 15 of 2014, ISIS attacked about 20 villages and towns in the Sinjar region, the Yazidi’s ancestral homeland in Iraq. All men and boys over the age of 14, including the elderly, the sick, and the disabled, were executed in mass graves. The younger boys forcibly became child soldiers. Women and girls were separated from each other, many were raped and then sold into sexual and domestic slavery. More than 5.000 Yazidis were killed during the genocide in the cruelest possible way. The number of unreported cases is even higher. Half a million people became refugees overnight, hundreds of thousands fled to the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, where many still live in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) today.

HÁWAR.help’s founder and chairwoman, Düzen Tekkal, travelled to Iraq as a journalist in 2014 to report on the atrocities committed against her faith community. She is a Yazidi herself. Her parents fled to Germany in the late 1960s. The result of this trip is her documentary film “HÁWAR – My Journey to Genocide” (2015). The images shown demonstrate how quickly genocide can become a reality, a mere 75 years after the Holocaust and for our globalized world to see. It begins with the dehumanization of people based of their faith, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. In 2015, she and her siblings founded the human rights organization HÁWAR.help. In Kurdish, “HÁWAR” means “cry for help”, which is exactly what she followed. With its projects, HÁWAR.help wants to give hope and humanity. On the ashes of a genocide.


    The Yazidis (also: Yezidis) are a Kurmanji (Northern Kurdish) speaking ethno-religious minority, a number of whom consider themselves ethnic Kurds. Their main ancestral settlement areas are in the Sinjar (also: Shingal) region of Iraq as well as in northern Syria and southeastern Turkey. Worldwide there are about 1m Yazidis, about 300.000 of which live in the large refugee and IDP camps in the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq.

    A genocide is the attempt to "destroy, directly or indirectly, all or part of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such". Since the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948, this "crime of crimes" is a criminal offence under international criminal law that cannot be time-barred.

    For centuries, sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war. Unfortunately, this cruel tactic used to shame and torture victims is still considered a taboo subject to this day. Rape, abuse, forced prostitution, sterilization, or forced abortion are some of the tactics used. Rape is carried out systematically in order to harm the rival group because by raping the woman, families are shattered.