Winnipeg’s Yazidi community has been closely watching reports coming out of Northern Iraq after thousands have been targeted and killed.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) considers Yazidis apostates.
Given an ultimatum — convert to Islam, flee or be killed — on Saturday, an estimated 40,000 people, at least half of them children, fled to nearby mountains as the town of Sinjar wasn’t taken over by ISIS.
Around 200 local adherents of the Yazidi faith gathered at the Manitoba Legislature this week to protest and raise awareness.
With no way to speak with their family, the group depends on social media to find out what is happening back home in Northern Iraq.
Members of the Winnipeg Yazidi community said more needs to be done here in Canada to save their friends and family in Iraq.
“There's so many kids that have died of starvation and dehydration, and it's so sad,” said Nafiya Naso, a local Yazidi. “They cover them with rocks. They can't dig to bury them.”
Kahiri Rasho pleaded at the Legislative Building for her sister in Northern Iraq to be saved.
“They're taking our women and children,” said one man present at the demonstration. “There are thousands of them living in the mountains, they are living without food and water, so we need help.”
The group at the Manitoba Legislature said it's good news some supplies from the United States have arrived in Northern Iraq, but not everyone has been reached.
“They have more access to the family than we do,” said Jalal Naso. “There are still five villages that haven't received any food are water.”
Amer Khoudeda, another Yazidi present at the demonstration at the Legislative Building, said she was devastated.
“Devastated, disappointed a little bit just because it's 2014 and Canada hasn't heard of this, they haven't heard of the Yazidis?”
The group reached out to Winnipeg Tory MP Joyce Bateman, who passed their concerns to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The group said the only way to save lives is for the international community to get the refugees out of the mountains and into camps.