NEWS

Activists, former ICC prosecutor visit Yazidis in Greece

COSTAS KANTOURIS

TAGS: Migration

Yazidi rights activists and a former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court visited Yazidi refugees in a northern Greek camp Monday, hoping to build a case for the Hague-based court.

Luis Moreno Ocampo, who was the court's first prosecutor, said Monday that it is very important for members of the Yazidi minority that the world recognizes them as victims of genocide.

“Since I was in Iraq (last year) I (have been) trying to help them, so they can find justice,” he told The Associated Press. About 1,300 Yazidis live in the camp near the village of Petra Olympou under Mount Olympus. They fled attacks in Iraq and Syria from the Islamic State group, which killed thousands and enslaved thousands more, mainly women and children.

Xaola Mourad, 30, who lives in the camp with her husband, said she and other members of their family tried to escape in a car when IS fighters attacked the village of Solah.

“We were stopped, and one of them cut my brother's throat,” she said. “They kept me prisoner for 10 days, but I escaped one night when the guard was asleep.”

Mourad said 37 members of her family are still in the jihadis' hands. She and her husband, who crossed to Greece from Turkey, hope to eventually reach Germany to seek asylum.

Among the visitors to the camp Monday was prominent Yazidi activist Nadia Murad, who managed to escape IS slavery and has since campaigned for the minority's cause.

“Working day by day, we will achieve something,” she said.

Another 425 Yazidis live in a different refugee camp near Serres, further north. The visiting team plans to meet them on Tuesday.

According to government data, about 57,000 refugees and other migrants live in Greek camps.

They became stuck in the country after a series of Balkan countries closed their borders to refugees, prompted by a similar move from Austria, and the European Union struck a deal with Turkey to reduce the flows in March, Before that, about a million people transited through Greece, where they arrived in smugglers' boats from Turkey, on their way to Europe’s prosperous heartland where they hoped to build a new life.

[AP]

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