MEDIA RELEASE – Canberra artist advocate commemorates Yazidi genocide

August marks the third anniversary of ISIS’ genocide of the Yazidis. To commemorate the occasion, Canberra artist and advocate, Susan Hutchinson will spend the day at Parliament House, creating a sculpture of a weeping peacock out of wool and silk fibres. The peacock is an important symbol in Yazidi culture and religion.

Significant international advocacy has been undertaken seeking justice for the international crimes perpetrated by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Angelina Jolie and Amal Clooney have been at the forefront of campaigns to end sexual violence in armed conflict and seek justice for Yazidi victims. But Ms Hutchinson says, “governments like Australia are perpetuating impunity by failing to investigate and prosecute their own nationals for the war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrated in Syria and Iraq.”

Earlier this month, the Yazidi community in Australia commemorated the beginning of the genocide. The community continues to call for recognition of the genocide and prosecution of perpetrators. But these cries are falling on deaf ears. The parliament has not recognised the genocide and even the foreign fighters who are within the grasp of the government are not being investigated or charged.

Ms Hutchinson identifies the example of Neil Prakash, who is being extradited to Victoria to face criminal charges. “Prakash is not facing any genocide charges, despite public material of him inciting genocide. Delaying justice for crimes like this only allows evidence to be lost and destroyed. It is contrary to obligations under international law and allows perpetrators to die as they wish, as martyrs on the battlefield rather than genocidaires and international criminals locked away for life.”

Susan Hutchinson is the architect of the prosecute; don’t perpetrate campaign calling on the government to investigate and prosecute Australians who have perpetrated sexual violence as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. She is also the creator of Felted Furry Friends.

Media, parliamentarians and members of the public are invited to watch the creation of the peacock, talk about the genocide, and discuss what individuals and the government can do to end impunity for these crimes.

Date: 30 August 2017
Time: 7am-7pm
Place: Authorised Assembly Area (the lawn out the front of Parliament House)
Contact: Susan Hutchinson
Phone: 0438 146 328
Twitter: @SusansOpine

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