Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
- Around 2,000 Yazidi women remain in captivity of ISIS, while the 1500 who have escaped their clutches are returning home either pregnant or, in some cases, with newborn babies
- Abortion is illegal in Iraq even in the case of rapes, it gives an exception only if the birth would jeopardize a woman’s life
- According to the Iraqi law, these children will be treated as if they’re born of adultery and, consequently, their mothers will not have the right to raise them
While the world talks about the growing threat of ISIS in developed European countries, Yazidis in Iraq are usually looked over because of their minority status.
Two years after Islamic State militants attacked the Yazidi’s in northern Iraq and took thousands of women and girls as sex slaves, many victims are now returning home pregnant or, in some cases, with newborn babies, Iraqi sources tell VOA.
Follow NewsGram on Twitter
Those victims are faced with contradicting cultural and legal challenges: While the former type of challenge is compelling them to undergo abortions or abandon babies, the latter is criminalizing their actions, those sources say.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, nearly 1,500 Yazidi women and girls enslaved by IS have escaped. However, around 2,000 women remain in captivity.
Nemam Ghafouri, the chairwoman of Joint Help for Kurdistan, a Swedish-Kurdish organization that supports displaced Yazidis, told VOA that “the return of Yazidi female victims can be divided into three phases. In the first phase, we received raped women; in the second phase, we received pregnant women; and in the third phase, now, they are coming home with infants.”
According to Ghafouri, the issue of pregnant Yazidi returnees became noticeable to her organization in November 2014, four months after the massive IS attack on Yazidi areas. “Since then, more and more victims have returned home, with some of them eight months pregnant and others nine months,” she said.
“Abortion has been used in all cases I have encountered,” she said.
No data are available on how many victims have returned home pregnant or with infants because they, and the officials, hardly talk about the issue publicly to avoid a backlash from a rather conservative Iraqi society.
VOA reached out to several women who sought abortions or gave birth, but no one agreed to talk.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook
Nofel Hamadi Akub, the governor of IS-controlled Nineveh province, said there were approximately 3,000 newborn children with “unknown parentage” in IS-controlled Sunni areas as a result of “sexual jihad.” The number included children born to Iraqi or foreign Sunni women who married IS fighters.
“The most complicated problem facing Baghdad after the liberation of Nineveh will be the issue of children with unknown parentage,” Akub said.
A small religious minority concentrated mostly in northern Iraq, Yazidis are an insular group, keeping mostly to themselves despite the often bloody realignments the borders and political structures around them have gone through.
Marrying someone from another religion is an unpardonable sin in the Yazidi religion. Similarly, having sex, even under duress, is considered to taint the bodies and souls of the community members.
Consequently, when the IS militants took captive thousands of Yazidi women and girls as sex slaves and forced them into religious conversion, the female victims found themselves being stigmatized by their communities upon their return.
Nevertheless, in September 2014, the spiritual leader of the Yazidis, Khurto Hajji Ismail, widely known as “Baba Sheikh,” called on the community to welcome back the abducted women because they had been “subjected to a matter outside their control.”
That statement has since helped the victims rejoin their community, but newborn infants and pregnancy are not tolerated.
“The victims are our daughters and sisters, but it is unacceptable in our religion to allow the birth of any children if both parents are not Yazidis,” Baba Sheikh told VOA in a phone interview.
“It is also tribally unacceptable and a source of shame,” he said. “If such children are born, wouldn’t people ask who their fathers are? Are they Afghans? Are they Europeans?”
Therefore, abortion is perceived as a solution. However, that raises two other problems: Abortion is illegal in Iraq, and not all women want to undergo the procedure.
The ban on abortions in Iraq covers the Kurdistan region as well and applies even in the case of rape. Iraqi law gives an exception only if the birth would jeopardize a woman’s life.
“It’s an illegal act, according to the Iraqi law, but we’ve come to an understanding with the authority,” Dakhil told VOA. “The doctors refused to cooperate in the beginning. But we have taken the responsibility upon us because the women were forcefully put into the situation.”
To avoid legal consequences and public shame, the victims turn to backstreet abortion clinics, a source inside the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Health who asked not to be identified told VOA.
To Rezan Dler, a female lawmaker in the Iraqi Council of Representatives who has been working closely with the abducted Yazidis, cases of women who have been raped and want to keep their babies are not uncommon.
“A Yazidi woman who was pregnant for eight months when she escaped IS, she wanted to keep her baby, but her husband insisted on divorcing her if she refused to have an abortion. The couple finally separated. The woman is now living in a refugee camp with her 5-month-old child,” Dler told VOA, describing the circumstances of the Yazidi woman without disclosing her name.
In other cases, the Yazidi women have given their newborn children to infertile Kurdish couples, Dler said.
“This is one of the most challenging problems that will face the Iraqi law in the future,” said Xamosh Omar, a court judge and a legal consultant for the Iraqi Kurdistan parliament.
“According to the Iraqi law, these children will be treated as if they’re born of adultery and, consequently, their mothers will not have the right to raise them,” Omar told VOA.
Another legal challenge is religion. Iraqi law, as guided by the Islamic Sharia code, rules that children will hold the religion of their fathers, Omar said. “Does that mean these children will be considered Muslims while they are raised by their Yazidi mothers? There is no legal answer to this.”
Dler is trying to push the Iraqi parliament to find a legal way. But she said chances of passage are very low.
“I am a woman and I understand what raped Yazidi women must go through. But for the Iraqi parliament, this is a shameful topic to be addressed. I doubt they will allow this issue to be even brought into the parliament for discussion, let alone finding a legal answer,” she said. (VOA)
Savitribai Khanolkar with husband Major General Vikram Khanolkar.Photo found on Google Images
IANSlife brings you the co-founder of YES MADAM, Mayank Arya who speaks of the benefits of at-home salon services.
We all prefer comfort over anything and everything. Nothing is more comfortable than getting everything under your own roof. One of the most amazing perks of subscribing to an at-home salon service provider is that you can watch your favourite TV show or OTT series while having your hair treated or nails done. Amidst, Covid-19 and working from home some of the beauty services can be taken simultaneously. Getting beauty services at your home keeps you relaxed and calm. During festivals when you are already busy the on-demand salon services can do wonders for your mind, body and soul.
Usually many customers have problems related to hygienic surroundings. Of course, they do not know if the place is properly sanitized or not. For such kinds of customers "At home Beauty services" is nothing but the most appropriate option. There is something about being in a familiar environment that makes you feel at total comfort instantly and allows you to enjoy the treatment in a much better way. Create your own bubble with the most appropriate hygienic conditions according to your requirements and take the at-home salon services.
The biggest and the major concern during the times of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the duration of time where the whole world is fighting a virus, we all need to be extra careful about exposure to any kind of infection. With at-home salon services, you do not have to expose yourself to dozens of people on your way but you can allow yourself to enjoy excellent services within the safety of your home. With vaccinated beauticians, it becomes much safer to get the treatments done. In at-home salon services, the beauticians wear a PPE kit that includes a mask, gloves, bodysuit, and a face shield. They utilize only monodose (single-use) products. Moreover, they also sanitize the area where the set-up is done to deliver the services.
Sometimes, even if you book an appointment, you have to travel a lot far and still the beautician keeps you waiting. The in-house beauty treatment services are much more flexible. It's all up to you, one can book the date and time whenever they need the service, and the beautician will be there at your doorstep. If it is a busy week or an impromptu decision, one can always rely on the on-demand salon services.
. The in-house beauty treatment services are much more flexible. | Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
The session with family and friends
Who doesn't love to gossip around and chill with friends and family while getting their manicure and pedicure done? There are so many nosy customers while you visit the salon that just kills your buzz. But a salon at home with your friends and family especially during the times of festivals provide you with the most relaxing and happy vibes.
With the up-gradation in technology, the on-demand salon services do not let you pile up the house chores. While you are working from home and want to get your house festive ready with services like pest control, sanitization, sofa cleaning, carpet cleaning, kitchen cleaning, bathroom cleaning at-home services like Yes Madam always keep you sorted.
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: salon, pandemic, safety, hygiene, family, friends, comfort
By Aishwarya Jain
Also, lowering down the crime level would act as a major factor towards a happy society. People who witness crimes, or come across evidence of a crime in their local area, can suffer anxiety and may feel demoralised or powerless. We should also teach them to stop judging people by materialistic things and accept everyone with all their flaws. Media plays an important role in making society happy because they have the power of reaching out to billions of people and helping them out through a solution-based approach.
As per Aishwarya Jain, the Founder of IM Happiness, a social community that works to increase awareness of mental well-being, "Every great leader always talks about building a happier society from Chanakya to J.R.D. Tata. As J.R.D Tata said, "I do not want India to be an economic superpower. I want India to be a happy country". Happiness makes good things happen. It actually promotes positive outcomes. It's high time corporates start taking importance of mental well-being like it's happening around the world. Last week, Nike became the latest company to close its offices for a week to give employees a mental health break. That's after LinkedIn, Bumble, and Hootsuite have all shut down their offices for a week this year to address mental health. I think the global revolution of happiness has started."
Our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive. Yet in today's world, we ironically sacrifice happiness for success only to lower our brain's success rate . When we are happy -- when our mindset and mood are positive -- we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the centre, and success revolves around it. IM Happiness is a community that believes happiness is a skill to be enhanced by training and practice. The team works day and night to help the sufferers get rid of their mental chaos and teach them the skill of being optimistic and happy in every situation, either favourable or adverse. They work on the aim of the United Nations Goals of promoting good health and well-being and have worked closely with the organisation. The team is utilizing the power of Science and Spirituality in achieving this aim.
IM Happiness is initiating a new campaign, 'Hello Happiness'. | Photo by Dylan Sauerwein on Unsplash
IM Happiness is initiating a new campaign, 'Hello Happiness'. The campaign unites 30+ celebrities from across the country to have a surprise conversation with selected people in India. Ranveer Brar, Daniel Weber, Masoom Minawala Mehta and Ash King are some of the celebrities who will be a part of this campaign. With this campaign, the community wants to help people deal with their emotions and to motivate them. The campaign is free of cost and the nominee just has to register, wherein the unique algorithm will connect the nominee with a celebrity or other mentors on a call according to their keywords.
The community is trying to bring a change but it is the society's accumulative effort to spread awareness and to make oneself happy. We should try to start small and it will eventually make a great difference because a better society allows us to lead a better life.
(Article originally published on IANS by N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keyowrds: Happiness, society, IM happiness, campaign, India, community