OUR STORY

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 the Yazidis. The persecution of the Yazidis was particularly cruel. On August 3 and 15, 2014, ISIS attacked about 20 villages and towns in the region of Shingal, 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 were used as 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 today.

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HÁWAR.help chairman and founder Düzen Tekkal traveled to Iraq at the time to report as a journalist on the atrocities committed against her community of faith. Düzen Tekkal is a Yezidi herself, her parents fled to Germany in the late 60s. Her trip to Iraq resulted in the film: HÁWAR – My Journey into Genocide in 2015. These images show how quickly genocide can become a reality 75 years after the Holocaust and in front of the eyes of our interconnected world. It begins with the dehumanization of people because of their faith, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. In 2015 Düzen Tekkal and her siblings founded the human rights organization HAWAR.help. In the Kurdish language HÁWAR means “cry for help” – and it is exactly what Düzen Tekkal followed. With its projects HAWAR.help wants to give hope and live humanity. On the ashes of a genocide.

  • WHO ARE THE YAZIDIS?

    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 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.
  • WHAT IS GENOCIDE?

    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.
  • SEXUAL VIOLENCE AS A WEAPON OF WAR

    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 in this method. Rape is carried out systematically in order to harm the rival group because by raping the woman, families are shattered.