„Yesterday, a prominent nongovernmental organization supporting the Yezidi religious minority said it was shut down by security officers from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The organization, called Yazda, is located in the city of Dohuk in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Three KRG officers came to the offices and told staff the organization was now ‚closed.‘ Although Kurdish authorities claimed they closed down Yazda after warning it to abide by KRG rules governing NGOs, Yazda staff said that they received no such warning. Rather, they said officers provided no reason, no paperwork, and no information on how long it was being closed. The officers put locks on the doors to prevent staff from coming back.
One person close to the organization told me he suspected that the decision stemmed from Yazda’s plan to support at least 3,000 families in Sinjar with livelihood materials, as part of a larger United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project. Sinjar is an important Yezidi area that was overrun by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, in August 2014. In December, Human Rights Watch issued a report on the KRG’s severe restrictions on goods, such as food, fuel, and car parts in and out of Sinjar. The UNDP project directly challenges that policy. When we wrote the report, the KRG said it was concerned about aid ending up with an armed Kurdish group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, with forces in Sinjar.“ (Belkis Wille: „Kurdish Officials Shut Down Group Aiding Yezidis“)