The UK government has today formally acknowledged that acts of genocide were committed against the Yazidi people by Daesh in 2014.
Announcement comes ahead of events marking the 9-year anniversary of atrocities committed by Daesh against the Yazidi people
UK decision follows ruling by the German Federal Court of Justice which found a former Daesh fighter guilty of acts of genocide and crimes against humanity
UK continues to play leading role in eradicating Daesh, including through rebuilding affected communities and tackling its poisoning propaganda
The UK has today formally acknowledged that acts of genocide were committed against the Yazidi people by Daesh in 2014.
The Minister of State for the Middle East Lord Ahmad made the announcement ahead of events marking the 9-year anniversary of atrocities committed by Daesh against the Yazidi people.
Minister of State for the Middle East, Lord Ahmad, said:
"The Yazidi population suffered immensely at the hands of Daesh 9 years ago and the repercussions are still felt to this day. Justice and accountability are key for those whose lives have been devastated.
"Today we have made the historic acknowledgement that acts of genocide were committed against the Yazidi people. This determination only strengthens our commitment to ensuring that they receive the compensation owed to them and are able to access meaningful justice.
"The UK will continue to play a leading role in eradicating Daesh, including through rebuilding communities affected by its terrorism and leading global efforts against its poisonous propaganda."
The UK’s position has always been that determinations of genocide should be made by competent courts, rather than by governments or non-judicial bodies. This determination has been made following the judgment of the German Federal Court of Justice earlier this year, where it found a former Daesh fighter guilty of acts of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Iraq.
The UK officially acknowledges 5 instances where genocide has occurred: the Holocaust, Rwanda, Srebrenica and acts of genocide in Cambodia and against the Yazidi people.
During his visit to Iraq earlier this year, including to the Kurdistan region, Lord Ahmad also welcomed progress with the passage of the Yazidi Survivors Law, which will provide reparations to survivors. He underlined the UK’s commitment to helping Iraq fully implement the law and ensure that survivors receive full support and access to justice.
A commemoration event, which is being held in Baghdad, has been organised by Yazidi civil society organisations and will welcome international stakeholders. The UK’s Ambassador to Iraq, Steve Hitchen, will attend and confirm the UK’s announcement.
On 30 November 2021, Frankfurt Higher Regional Court sentenced Taha Al-Jumailly, a former Daesh fighter, to life imprisonment for acts of genocide and crimes against humanity, for the enslavement and abuse of a Yazidi woman and her 5-year-old daughter in 2015. On 17 January 2023, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) upheld the Frankfurt ruling and rejected the Defendant’s appeal.
Though territorially defeated, the fact is that Daesh remains a serious threat in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. The UK continues to support the work of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) and international efforts to bring perpetrators of Daesh violence to justice.
(c) 2023, UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office