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Minister Müller pays tribute to Baba Sheikh, late spiritual leader of the Yazidi community: "He was a peacemaker"

German Development Minister Müller during his meeting with Baba Sheikh in April 2018. On the left: Düzen Tekkal, founder of the organisation "Hawar.help".

02.10.2020 |

German Development Minister Gerd Müller stated: "Baba Sheikh was a true peacemaker. I had the chance to talk with the spiritual leader of the Yazidi community in northern Iraq two years ago. I was deeply impressed by his courageous work – against opposition and centuries-old traditions – for the Yazidi girls and women who had been enslaved, forced into marriage and raped by IS terrorists, so that they would be accepted back into the community. This is the basis for giving the women, who have suffered so much, a chance to make a fresh start after all the IS terrorist atrocities. It was with great dismay that I heard of the death of Baba Sheikh, the spiritual leader of the Yazidi community.

"360,000 Yazidis were displaced from their home region. Far too many of them are still living in camps for internally displaced people in northern Iraq – one third of the entire community. And thousands of women are still missing or are in the hands of terrorists. We must not forget these atrocities. There can be no tolerance for crimes against religious minorities. Germany is helping to assist people locally as they try to cope with their traumatic experiences. Among other things, we are working with the human rights organisation 'Hawar.help', which seeks to help women who have returned from IS captivity to rebuild their lives. A women's centre set up by the German Development Ministry offers more than 100 women a day medical assistance, trauma counselling and legal advice. And in the people's home regions in Sinjar and Nineveh, the Development Ministry is rebuilding day care centres, schools and roads, and creating new income opportunities for 9,000 households. In that way, we are making it easier for many Yazidis to make a new start."

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