Executive Council appoints CINMENA President and Secretary

(August 10) In a major development signaling the CINMENA’s commitment to develop itself as an effective confederation, CINMENA’s Executive Council has voted unanimously to approve the widely-expected appointment of Ezidikhan Justice Minister Nallein Sowilo as the Confederation’s first President, granting her sweeping executive powers.

Under Section IV of the CINMENA Constitution, the Executive Council is obligated to develop its Secretariat with a President who shall direct the Executive Council and Secretary. The Executive Council has accordingly appointed Ms. Sowilo as the first President of CINMENA effective immediately, vesting in her all the presidential powers described in its Constitution. 

The currently 67-member Confederation of Indigenous Nations of the Middle East and North Africa is governed by an Executive Council that votes on issues of importance to its member nations. One member of the Executive Council appointed as President of the Executive Council is empowered to speak and sign agreements on behalf of the Confederation and its Executive Council.

As CINMENA President, Sowilo is legally empowered to represent the 67-member Confederation at the forthcoming Congress of Nations and States in Belfast, UK October 10-14, 2022, and sign on the Confederation’s behalf a major landmark treaty addressing such issues as Indigenous nations’ legal autonomy and crimes of genocide committed against tribal minorities.

At right, Nallein Sowilo attending a friend’s wedding in Ezidikhan in 2021
At right, Nallein Sowilo seen attending a friend’s wedding in Iraq in 2021

Patience and Humility

Nallein Satana Saddam al-Jilwah Sowilo Shingal (b.1993) grew up in Iraq and was educated in the United States where she grew up after her father Hadji Saado Mustafa Shingal was assassinated by al-Qaeda terrorists in 2007, forcing her and her mother to find refuge in the United States.

Despite a well-deserved reputation for being shy and reclusive, Ms. Nallein Sowilo has survived the loss of her father and risen to prominence out of sheer persistence and unwavering dedication to the cause of justice for victims of genocide — especially those victims of Daesh‘s assault of August 4th, 2014.


The Executive Council’s resolution of August 10th also recognizes the role that foreign volunteers have played in supporting capacities like editing and publishing. In particular, the past service of President Sowilo’s volunteer secretary since 2014, Patrick Harrigan, has been recognised with his appointment as CINMENA Secretary.

Patrick Harrigan has long been associated with indigenous peoples and traditions of Sri Lanka.
Newly-appointed CINMENA Secretary Patrick Harrigan has long campaigned on behalf of Sri Lanka’s indigenous peoples.

In an article “Ezidikhan Rises from the Ashes” published last month in the journal of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, Harrigan traces the role that Sowilo has played in the autonomy movement of Yezidis since 2014 and her subsequent leadership role among other Indigenous nations of the Middle East and North Africa.

Described as a Florida-based South Asia specialist, editor and publisher who had already long been advocating on behalf of Indigenous peoples of Sri Lanka, Patrick Harrigan will continue to serve the Government of Ezidikhan and CINMENA as an unpaid volunteer until replaced.

“As challenging as it may appear,” says Harrigan, “getting diverse Indigenous minorities to stand together on issues like crimes of genocide or colonialism is not at all difficult. Resources are scarce however.”

It does involve a lot of patience, dedication and long hours communicating one-on-one with representatives of tribal and indigenous nations from across a vast swath of land across the entire Middle East and North Africa.

The post of President of CINMENA is subject to annual review, re-evaluation and re-election by the Executive Council. The post of Vice-President of CINMENA will be decided in due course.

CINMENA President, Secretary appointed by Executive Council
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