Iraqi Yazidis: Their Migration to Europe and Its Motives

  • Karel Černý
Keywords: Yazidis, Iraq, refugees, emigration to Europe, failed state, Islamic extremism


The paper deals with internal migrants from the Yazidi minority in Iraq. It is a case study based on a field research conducted in March 2016 on the territory of the Kurdish regional government in Northern Iraq. The paper is based on thirty semi-structured interviews with refugees both inside and outside refugee camps, and it discusses the motivations that the refugees take into consideration while making decisions about their possible future migration (their lack of trust toward the central and the Kurdish regional government, their Arab neighbours, and their elites, the situation in the camps, the economic crisis, etc.). This case study provides a perspective of the Yazidi refugees themselves that is in some respect specific for this minority but also contributes to the general discussion about motivations of refugees from the war zones in the contemporary Middle East.

Author Biography

Karel Černý
born in 1980, he is a sociologist working at the Department of Historical Sociology at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague. He has been a Fulbright Fellow and a researcher at the University of California in Santa Barbara (2011–2012) and also has experience from studying at St. Petersburgh State University in Russia (2005). Černý focuses on civilization analyses, and theories of social change and conflict. His research interests are the roots of the instability in the contemporary Middle East, including the so-called Arab Spring, and also Muslim migration and integration in Europe and the United States in a comparative perspective. Černý has published a monograph titled Instability in the Middle East: Structural Changes and Uneven Modernisation 1950–2015 (Charles University Press and Chicago University Press, 2017).
Research Articles