Yazidis are forced to flee refugee camp

Yazidis are forced to flee refugee camp
They have been chased out of Iraq. Now Yazidi families no longer dare to stay in the Idomeni camp between Greece and Macedonia, because of Muslims.

A few kilometers outside the camp at the border crossing in Idomeni, between Greece and Macedonia, a steady stream of families are walking across the fields.

With them they carry everything they own. Behind them lies the unofficial camp with an estimated 15,000 refugees and migrants who for two months have been waiting in vain for the border to open.

- In the camp we did not feel safe. We are accused of being pagans who worship the devil and idols, says Abed Hassiqa (36), to the Norwegian newspaper VG.

He is from Sinjar in Iraq, where thousands of Yazidis were killed, captured, or driven out by ISIS in August 2014. Tens of thousands have been displaced in neighboring countries since then.

As one of the most vulnerable groups of people from the wars in Iraq and Syria, they are very scared, explains Abed.

- We are fleeing from IS, but we have experienced much of the same here. Almost all the other refugees are Muslims and when they protest, and calling for Allah, we get anxious, says Leyla Merad (35).

- Many women of our people were taken as sex slaves by IS-soldiers. In the camp, there are many young men, and we are afraid that young girls from our people will be exposed to terrible things, she says.

They have also been alarmed by the large protest that erupted on Sunday, where 300 people were injured when refugees and migrants tried to cross the border into Macedonia, and were stopped with tear gas and rubber bullets.

- We do not participate in the demonstrations, and we will not be exposed to more danger. If we can live in a camp which is safer for us, we would rather move there, explains Abed.

And exactly such an offer they have now received from the German organization CYCI, which is a support group for Arab Christians and Yazidis who are fleeing. They have set up buses out of Idomeni.

The Greek state, which has a long-term goal to liquidate all tent camp near the border, has built a new camp for Christians and Yazidis, named "Petra" in town of Katarini.

- We have transported a total of 1,070 people in two days, and the relief is great when they come to the new camp. Both because they feel safer, but also because the conditions in the camp is much better, says Vanessa Künetz in CYCI to VG.

- What will further happen to them, the border is closed where they are now. Will they remain in Greece?

- It's unclear what's ahead, but they prefer to go to other countries. The Yazidis have been subjected to genocide, which at least the German authorities acknowledge, so maybe they will come to Germany, says Künetz.

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