The Kurdish community in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region says that the numbers of suicides are increasing, particularly in refugee camps full of Kurdish Yazidis.
In the last two weeks, there have been 11 suicides in the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq, the Kurdish community (KDG) in Gießen, Germany, told the Catholic news agency KNA on Monday.
The most affected group are young Yazidis, mostly residing in refugee camps in Kurdish region of northern Iraq, says KDG. The community thinks that the suicides are linked to the difficult conditions in which many refugees in the camp are living; the lack of perspective for the future, and economic and social problems.
On top of all that, the coronavirus pandemic has hit these communities particularly hard, reported KNA.
More support for vulnerable refugees
The KDG has called on the international community to provide more support for these vulnerable groups.
At the moment a psychologist who is famous for working with the Yazidi community in Germany, Jan Ilhan Kizilhan, is researching the potential causes for the increase in suicides. Kizilhan heads up the Institute for Transcultural Health Research Institute at Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University Villingen-Schwenningen (Dualen Hochschule Baden-Württemberg.)
The Yazidi community was persecuted in 2014 by the terror group Islamic State (IS) who call Yazidis unbelievers, because of their alternative way of practicing their form of the Muslim faith. According to the UN, at least 5,000 Yazidis were killed in the massacre on Mount Sinjar, with many women and girls raped and or subjected to sexual and economic slavery.
The KDG has criticized the government of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq for not having done enough to meet the Yazidi refugee needs in their area. According to KNA, more than 100,000 Yazidis currently reside in northern Iraq. Germany took in around 1,000 Yazidis under a special relocation program in 2014.