The Women Refugees Advocacy Project is comprised of women involved in writing, teaching, counselling, film-making and art, and includes former rape crisis centre counsellors.
WRAP is a small group of women united by our concern for women and girl survivors of the Yazidi genocide. In 2016, we advocated for the Canadian government to bring female Yazidi survivors of enslavement to Canada and to provide them with safe housing and a comprehensive program of trauma recovery. The government did bring Yazidi survivors to Canada but we later learned that the government had not made good on its promise of trauma care.
WRAP created a petition in 2018 calling for comprehensive trauma care. We joined with Rev. Majed El Shafie of One Free World International to hold an educational campaign. Majed came from Toronto to Vancouver to speak from firsthand experience of the plight of the Yazidi. He brought with him a Yazidi refugee family of survivors. They spoke at a Press Conference, Simon Fraser University, the Women and Children’s Hospital, and the Canadian Memorial United Church.
The petition gathered over 300 organizations as co-petitioners and 1,500 signatures; It was delivered in person to Ottawa on October 29, 2018, by WRAP and a group of Yazidi women. MP Jenny Kwan tabled the petition that day in the House of Commons. The government has yet to answer our call.
During this time director Moira Simpson was filming our efforts to obtain trauma care and made a documentary, The Least We Can Do, which was completed July, 2020.
We recently heard from a Yazidi friend that thousands of Yazidi are now returning to Sinjar in Northern Iraq/Kurdistan. (Hundreds of thousands of Yazidi people were displaced into refugee camps in Iraq as they ran for their lives to escape the 2014 genocide by ISIS.) WRAP is now urging the Canadian government to assist the Yazidi who are in desperate circumstances as they return home.
Sinjar is a land shattered by ISIS: bombed out buildings, the infrastructure destroyed. No security, almost no clean water, electricity, hospitals, homes or schools and deeply inadequate medical care. They are experiencing oppressive Covid-19 policies and procedures which interfere with medical care and the Yazidi women and girls are suffering ongoing severe trauma from torture. And ISIS planted hundreds of thousands of landmines there in 2017 as they retreated from Sinjar during the war.
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Photo by Moira Simpson