Hungary helps Yazidi genocide survivors

As state secretary responsible for the Hungary Helps Program, I was pleased to announce recently a new, joint project with the Hungarian Ecumenical Charity that offers assistance to the Yazidi community that was subjected to genocide during the reign of the Islamic State.

The self-declared caliphate vanished from northern Iraq more than two years ago, but the reconstruction work continues. Hungary plays a key role in the region by supporting local Christian communities that were shattered following the conquest of the Nineveh Plains in 2014 by jihadist fighters of the Islamic State. Places of worship, community centers, healthcare facilities, and residential buildings built with Hungarian financial support allowed local Christian Churches to revitalize their communities.

But Christians aren’t the only beneficiary of the Hungary Helps Program. The Hungarian government has committed 650,000 EUR to the Yazidi community in Iraq to support reconstruction work in the Sinjar region, which was the Yazidi heartland prior to the conflict. The Islamic State’s ethnic cleansing murdered thousands of innocent Yazidis and forced the exodus of nearly half a million people belonging to the ethno-religious group.

Relocation of these IDPs remains a great concern for Yazidi leaders, but proper living conditions are essential for their return to their home region. Nadia’s Initiative, the organization of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad, and the Free Yezidi Foundation are focusing not only on reconstruction of the basic infrastructure, but they also provide assistance to better assure a meaningful livelihood for the returnees and create a viable alternative to migration. And that is why Hungary supports their work.

The Hungary Helps Program also puts great emphasis on helping the women and children traumatized by the conflict and IDPs still living in camps in Iraq. In cooperation with local religious charities, Hungary is supporting the rehabilitation of IDPs residing in the Khanke refugee camp.

Hungary has always been committed to helping people who are suffering religious persecution. The Hungary Helps Program focuses on supporting these persecuted communities to remain in their ancestral homelands because the Hungarian government maintains the firm position that this kind of help is far more humane than mass migration, which creates serious troubles in our region and benefits only the criminal organizations engaged in human trafficking.

The author of this piece is Hungary's State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians and for the Hungary Helps Program. 

Photo credit: Mandiner