Premiere: Seven Years on from Sinjar Massacre, Vr Film Honours Victims and Advocates for the Yazidi Community’s Recovery

‘Nobody’s Listening’ virtual reality (VR) exhibition. Photo: IOM

August 3rd, 2021 marks the seventh anniversary of the Sinjar Massacre. The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or Da’esh, systematically targeted ethnoreligious minorities residing in Sinjar and the Nineveh Plains. Soon after capturing those areas, ISIS committed a pattern of premeditated atrocities against the Yazidi people. UNITAD established “clear and convincing evidence that the crimes against the Yazidi people clearly constituted genocide.”

Seven years on, much still needs to be done to support the Yazidi community’s recovery. Genocide prevention and meaningful reconciliation require education, awareness-raising and advocacy, but due to frequent exposure, traditional forms of advocacy are reportedly losing their impact. In response, a multi-disciplinary team came together in 2019 to develop the ‘Nobody’s Listening’ virtual reality (VR) exhibition, an innovative advocacy tool using VR technology to present, educate and remind people of the magnitude of the Yazidi genocide.

In late 2020 and early 2021, the VR exhibition was presented in five cities across Iraq, engaging over 120 attendees. Today we are pleased to present a short film capturing that experience and a report that investigates the impact of the VR exhibition (Arabic and Kurdish versions of the report will be available at the same link soon). 

August 3rd is a day to stand in solidarity with communities in Sinjar and honour the victims of the massacre. Continued advocacy is necessary to address the outstanding needs of the Yazidi people and promote efforts towards justice and reparations; administration and security governance issues must be resolved; and dedicated support is vital for the area’s returnees. Humanitarian assistance must continue for Yazidis still in displacement — for those unwilling or unable to return, alternative durable solutions must be explored.

Projections of the ‘Nobody’s Listening’ VR film were organized by IOM Iraq and Yazda, with financial support from USAID. The Nobody’s Listening team wish to thank the Digital Cultural Heritage Research Group at the Sulaimani Polytechnic and its Nahrein Network partner; the UNESCO Chair on Genocide Prevention Studies – University of Baghdad; the Cultural Factory in Sulaimani; Erbil Polytechnic University; and the University of Duhok.

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