Manitoba

Winnipegger trying to help Yazidi refugees fears they are being forgotten

A Winnipeg woman working to help Yazidi refugees come to Manitoba says the conditions they are enduring in refugee camps in Turkey are deteriorating.
A Yazidi refugee woman from Iraq holds her child shortly after arriving on a vessel from the Turkish coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. (Associated Press/Muhammed Muheisen)

A Winnipeg woman working to help Yazidi refugees come to Manitoba says the conditions they are enduring in refugee camps in Turkey are deteriorating. 

Nafiya Naso is part of a group working to sponsor five Yazidi families to come to Canada.

She said conflict between various groups in the region is escalating. 

"While I'm speaking to these refugees, I could hear bombs going off and I can hear shotguns very clear," said Naso. "They tell me like for days now they haven't been able to sleep. All these people are fleeing these camps."

It's estimated thousands of Yazidis have fled their homes in Iraq to escape persecution for their religious and cultural beliefs. 

Nafiya Naso, seen in this CBC interview from August 2014, says she's concerned about the future of Yazidi refugees. (CBC)
Naso said the group she is working with has submitted applications to sponsor five Yazidi families. She wants the Canadian government expedite the process and to help get them to Canada quickly and safely. 

"The world doesn't seem to care," said Naso, "All we hear is 'Syrian refugees.' I have not heard anything about the Yazidi refugees."

Naso and her family came to Manitoba as Yazidi refugees when she was just 10. Her family had fled Iraq and lived in a refugee camp in Syria for eight years.

"I wanted to get involved and be a voice for the Yazidis because where they are right now, unfortunately they don't have a voice," said Naso. 

She said the group has raised just over $125,000 to help the families get established once they arrive in Winnipeg. 

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