Building partnerships to transform violence and oppression.

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Syrian and Iraqi Kurds protest separation ditch


Streamers of blue, green, yellow and brown election pennants crisscrossed over the street and almost blocked out the sun. The symbols of the major parties in Iraqi Kurdistan for the 30 April election dominated the landscape.  However, on Tuesday, 15 April, new flags waved from hand-held flagpoles. Many Syrian Kurds who have fled their country because of the turmoil marched through the streets of Sulaimani.  They were crying out because the government of the region in which they have taken refuge has decided to create a dividing ditch.  The KDP (Kurdish Democratic Party) that governs the area of Iraqi Kurdistan bordering Syria has sent workers, bulldozers, and security guards to facilitate the digging. It claims that the seventeen-kilometers-long, three-meters-deep, and two-meters-wide ditch will prevent terrorists and smugglers from entering the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq.

However, the people of Rojava/Western/Syrian Kurdistan and their Iraqi Kurd supporters see the ditch differently.  One man CPT’s Iraqi Kurdistan team spoke to said, “After WWI Britain drew lines that artificially separated the Kurds into four countries.  Now Kurds are dividing Kurds from Kurds with ditches.”

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Aboriginal Justice Delegation Fri, 05/02/2014 Mon, 05/12/2014
Colombia Delegation Sat, 05/17/2014 Sat, 05/31/2014
Palestine/Israel Delegation Wed, 05/21/2014 Wed, 06/04/2014
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Video Introduction to Christian Peacemaker Teams

 

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About CPT

Partnering with nonviolent movements around the world, CPT seeks to embody an inclusive, ecumenical and diverse community of God's love.  We believe we can transform war and occupation, our own lives, and the wider Christian world through:

  • the nonviolent power of God's truth
  • partnership with local peacemakers
  • bold action

CPT places teams at the invitation of local peacemaking communities that are confronting situations of lethal conflict.  These teams seek to follow God's Spirit as it works through local peacemakers who risk injury and death by waging nonviolent direct action to confront systems of violence and oppression. 

CPT understands violence to be rooted in systemic structures of oppression. We are committed to undoing oppressions, starting within our own lives and in the practices of our organization.

Featured CPT Partner

Kani Spi (“White Spring”) village sits next to a mine field on the Iraq/Iran border. Villagers live every day in a death trap, caught between the beauty of nature and the military violence of past and current governments.

Mr. Mahmud has been fighting to restore the beautiful countryside for decades by removing the mines, at a steep price: the loss of one brother, one son, and his leg. Now Turkey and Iran are conducting heavy bombardments in the region, forcing people to move and abandon their way of life.

The United States shares intelligence with Turkey to help Turkey and Iran combat Kurdish political groups. But often those attacks are on civilian villages. Mr. Mahmud wants the three countries to stop their military actions so he can clear the landmines from the field.

CPT’s Work: CPT accompanies villages like Kani Spi, documenting their experience, and advocating with decision-makers for a cease to state-sponsored violence and bombing.