IRAQ UPDATE: April 2010

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CPTnet
14 May 2010
IRAQ UPDATE: April 2010

 

Present on team during this period were Bob Holmes, JoAnne Lingle, Michele Naar-Obed, and Zachary Selekman.

Summary

The team has continued working with the displaced villagers from the Pshdar district, advocating for their safe, sustainable relocation.  The team also went back to the Makhmur refugee camp upon learning about increased human rights abuses against Kurds in Turkey, including the sentencing of the camp’s peace delegation to a total of about 130 years imprisonment.  From 18-27 April, the team hosted an international CPT delegation. 

Civilian Village Project

 The team has continued its work acting as a bridge between the Pshdar villagers and government & international organizations, both of which have previously been inaccessible to them.  In addition to advocacy, CPT-Iraq and local partners are assisting the villagers in organizing themselves with the hope that their voice will be strengthened and they will be able to advocate for themselves.  In a series of meetings, the village leaders elected two spokespersons and are in the process of forming a council that will include women and youth representatives. 

CPT-Iraq had multiple meetings with the village leaders, local mayors, as well as representatives of Habitat for Humanity and the U.S. Embassy’s Regional Reconstruction Team.  For the first time this season, Iran shelled a number of the villages, adding to the necessity of safe relocation for the villagers as soon as possible.  The team continued attempts to meet with the Governor of Suleimaniya as well as the KRG Prime Minister.  A promising step forward was made with the village leaders’ and mayor’s decision to build the homes on the current site of the Zharawa tent camp.  Mayor Hassan of Qeladzê told CPT that no one has done this kind of work with internally displaced villagers before.

20 April 2010

Iran attacked four villages in the subdistricts of Sangasar and Zharawa.  People of this area observed Turkish surveillance planes flying over the area just before Iran pounded the area with shells for twenty minutes.  Shelling occurred close to the villages Alia Rush, Serkhan, Shnowa, and Qala Tookan.  The villagers there reported that the shelling did not cause injuries or extensive damage.

28 April 2010

Iran shelled villages in the Zharawa subdistrict for two hours after people in the region observed Turkish surveillance planes flying over the area.  Attacks occurred near the villages of Razga and Basta.  Villagers reported that the shelling injured a shepherd and killed sheep.

Makhmur Refugee Camp

The month of April has seen a sharp increase in human rights abuses by the Turkish government against the Kurds, including the sentencing of the Makhmur camp’s peace delegation from last October.  The team contacted members of the camp’s governing council and set up meetings to learn more.  With their approval, CPT released a reflection and an action alert to shed light on the Turkish government’s actions.  The CPT delegation met with family members of the peace delegation.  The mothers, brothers, fathers, sons, husbands, and wives asked, “Is it too much to ask for basic rights?”  They told CPT delegation members, “We just want peace,” and expressed their willingness to risk death or imprisonment in pursuit of human rights for Kurds in Turkish Kurdistan.  The team is exploring the possibility of making a film about residents of the camp, to counter accusations that they are terrorists and to help ameliorate the pressure from the Governments of Turkey, the United States, and Iraq to close the camp.

6 April 2010

 A prosecutor from the Turkish province of Diyarbakir launched the trial against the Makhmoor Peace Delegation, charging them with spreading PKK propaganda and praising crimes and criminals.  The seventeen defendants (none of whom are in custody) face a total of 127.5 years imprisonment.

Persecuted Peshmerga

Party leaders made negotiations in regards to re-establishing the posts of Peshmerga Kurdish armed forces, literally “those who face death”) and other government employees who voted for the Goran (Change) List in the March parliamentary elections.  However, the cases of the eleven with whom CPT has worked are still pending.  Some of them continue to receive threatening phone calls and are still afraid to leave Goran’s headquarters.  “Aziz” (featured in this video) told CPTers that someone he knows “was paid by the PUK to testify against me.” 
 
 

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