Save The Yazidis: The World Has To Act Now

Defend International (DI) is hereby announcing the launch of the worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the tragedy of the Yazidis (also known as Ezidi and Yezidi*), Christians, and Kobane.

“The plight of the Yazidis, Christians and Kobane is a humanitarian tragedy, and we want to make sure that the victims are not forgotten, protected legally, fully assisted and compensated fairly,” said Dr. Widad Akreyi, co-founder of Defend International. The campaign has been modified regularly due to changes on the ground.

Save The Yazidis: The World Has To Act Now


1 September 2014

(Oslo) – Defend International (DI) is hereby announcing the launch of the worldwide campaign “Save The Yazidis: The World Has To Act Now” to raise awareness about the tragedy of the Yazidis in Sinjar and the humanitarian emergency that continues to unfold. In this context, DI pays tribute to all countries that have supported any minorities during the current crisis in Iraq and reiterates its call for the International community to urgently intervene. DI also commends all the NGOs that are supporting similar goals and welcomes any sponsorships.

The campaign will pursue several, interrelated objectives, including:

  1. Coordinating activities related to raising awareness about the Yazidis, Kobane and the Christians, and the brutal attacks they are being subjected to;
  2. Coordinating (lobbying and other) activities related to intensifying the efforts aimed at rescuing Yazidi and Christian women and girls captured by ISIS gunmen;
  3. Providing a platform for discussion and the exchange of information on matters and activities relevant to securing the fundamental rights of the Yazidis, no matter where they reside;
  4. Keeping up efforts to maintain momentum and improve focus;
  5. Building a bridge between potential partners and communities whose work is relevant to the campaign, including individuals, groups (e.g., artists, songwriters, singers, intellectuals, youth), communities, and organisations active in the areas of women’s and girls’ rights, inter alia, as well as actors involved in ending modern-day slavery and violence against women and girls;
  6. Developing tools and resources that can be utilized and replicated by supporters to ultimately identify the key gender and empowerment activities that are required to ensure that the next generations of the Yazidis are empowered through better understanding of their peaceful religion and culture; and
  7. If needed, assisting the UN and other partners to prepare for regional or local meetings focusing on selected aims of this campaign.

“The plight of the Yazidis, Christians and Kobane is a humanitarian tragedy, and the world is keen to make sure that the victims, including women, children, the elderly and those with medical conditions, know that the world cares and stands with them,” said Dr. Widad, co-founder of Defend International.

The campaign will be inclusive, informal, and pragmatic. Participation is open to all Governments, organizations and associations that are willing to endorse the objectives mentioned above and that are motivated to invest time and effort in fulfilling them collectively.

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International Partners

DI thanks famous bands, artists, songwriters, composers and others for their caring spirit and ability to translate the Yazidis’ pain into art.  We specifically would like to thank:

  • Edison band for lending their powerful song “While The World’s Asleep” to raise awareness about the plight of the Yazidis;

For More information about the unbelievably talented band Edison please visit:

  • Contemporary impressionist artist, Claude Arfaras, also known as Claudy The Artist for donating his time, resources and work to the campaign.

For More information about the super talented Claudy The Artist please visit:

  • The human rights focused artist Daniel Dalopo for giving Defend International permission to use his “Peace and freedom in your hands” piece.


For More information about the unique and powerful Daniel Dalopo please visit:

This collaboration was possible thanks to the assistance and creative ideas provided by Mr. Javier Melian, the co-founder of Chrom-Art. For More information please visit: 

  • The classical composer Tralian for dedicating his very moving masterpiece “Eyes Of The Blind” symphony to the Yazidis and Kobane and christians; and

  • Artist Ms. Jane Adams for giving us permission to use her paintings of Yazidis to strengthen our messages.

For More information about the gifted artist Ms. Jane Adams please visit:

Campaign Outcomes

  • We are thankful for the way in which political leaders and international agencies responded to our appeals. Senior representatives of governments, international organisations, regional institutions and world renowned experts visited Kurdistan region and provided the necessary help and/or guidance.
  • The Indian spiritual leader HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living Foundation, gracefully responded to Dr. Widad Akreyi’s calls. He visited Kurdistan region and distributed humanitarian aid to thousands of Yazidis.
  • Ms. Phumzile Mlambo, the Executive Director of UN Women responded positively to Dr. Widad’s calls 1 and 2. She thanked her for her support.
  • Likewise, the UN refugee envoy and American actress Angelina Jolie  responded to Dr. Widad’s calls 1, 2 and 3. On 25 January 2015, Dr. Widad thanked her for visiting a refugee camp in Kurdistan region.
  • Following  intensive advocacy by Dr. Widad, the UN secretary general Ban Ki Mom included Yazidi women and girls in his speeches.
  • During Pope Francis’ visit to Turkey, Defend International was concerned that the trip was about to end without any interaction between the Pope and the refugees fleeing violence in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. As a result, Dr. Widad asked HH to meet with refugees and restore hope, stating that she was aware of the security problems and suggesting to transport selected groups of refugees to secure locations where their concerns could be heard. DI members and supporters were thrilled when the news came that the Pope met with refugees before ending his three-day visit.
  • After months (e.g., September 2730; October 13; November 5, 1213; December 18) of heavy lobbying by Dr. Widad, using both hard and soft diplomacy, significant changes were observed on the ground. On 20 December 2014, the Kurdish forces supported by the US-led coalition liberated many areas, including mount Sinjar, Sinjar city and Zumar on the shores of Mosul dam. Defend International thanked them for helping the residents return to their homes and resume their everyday activities as quickly as possible. In addition, on 26 January 2015 Kobane was fully liberated, thereby ending a four-month battle to save a city that became a focal point of the international struggle against terrorism and slavery. On behalf of Defend International, Dr. Widad thanked the US-lead coalition and all ground forces for helping save Kobane. She also thanked our supporters who campaigned tirelessly to secure these outcomes.
  • Dr. Widad’s long list of slogans and appeals (e.g., September 20, November 10, December 1019202123) were powerful in raising awareness about the atrocities committed in the name of religion. Her efforts galvanised international opinion, which resulted in saving lives. As a DI supporter put it “her  role always is their footpath all over.”
  • About 250 Yazidi girls were rescued and reunited with their families. Nearly 300 Yazidis were released in January 2015.


* The names Yazidi, Yezidi and Ezidi have been derived from “Yezdan” or “Ezid,” both of which mean “God” in Kurdish. However, the majority of the population prefers to be called Ezidi or Yezidi.

On Twitter: #SaveYazidis #SaveKobane #SaveChristians #SaveHumanity #WeWantPeace

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