ACT News

Yazidi rally thanks Australia and pleads for more help for families under threat

The atmosphere was emotionally charged on the lawns of Parliament House on Thursday as Yazidi people came together to thank Australia and plea for more support.

As many of their group waved the red, white and green flag of Kurdistan emblazoned with a golden sun, the representatives of the Yazidi, an ethnic broup being persecuted by the terrorist group Islamic State (formerly Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) in northern Iraq, chanted "thank you Australia".

Their gratitude was for Australia's decision earlier this month to offer refuge to 4000 Yazidis during the IS seige of Mount Sinjar. 

Ahmed Barzani, 28, formerly from Kurdistan, is a painter from Liverpool in Sydney. He stood at the front of the demonstration with his brother, the pair joined by their mother, father and uncle.

"It's hard because at any moment you don't know if any of your family members are being killed or murdered, or being kicked out of their homes," he said.

"I've got two of my sisters who have just recently been married and they're living back in Kurdistan and every time we're in contact they're scared, they're fretting for their lives. It's just a rampage at the moment."


Mr Barzani said that although the Yazidi people were grateful for the support of countries like Australia, which participated in an air drop of supplies during the Mount Sinjar seige, there was a real need for weapons to be provided to their soldiers, also known as "peshmerga".

"[The Australian government] can help supply more weapons, and most likely after getting weapons … the peshmerga will be able to defeat the Islamic State and [achieve] peace," he said.

Ashti Bibani was another at the demonstration who had also been personally affected.

"I've got brothers, they're fighting and every night I try to call them … all of our family has been affected because of [IS]," Mrs Bibani said.

"The situation is very bad, the [IS] group [has taken] barbarian action, they killed many civilians and they took the women, killing them or selling them in the Arabic markets to people … women are always the first victims in every invasion."