For the last five years, CPT has accompanied Iraqi Kurdish families displaced on an annual basis from their villages along the Iraq/Iran border. What was once a rich agricultural region within Iraqi territory has become a battleground between Iranian military and resistance fighters.
In August, CPTers took the villagers’ concerns to the doors of the Iranian Consulate in Erbil, the capitol city of the KRG (Kurdish Regional Government). They carried a banner printed in Persian, Kurdish, Arabic, and English saying unambiguously, “Iranian shelling destroys village life.” They prepared a “Statement to the Iranian Consulate and to the World” and translated it into Persian for the Consulate and into Kurdish for members of the press. They displayed symbols of the devastation caused by the attacks: pictures of tent camps; a child-size manikin covered in a white sheet; dried, undeveloped vegetable plants; rocket and shell fragments from the area.
After reading their statement aloud they asked to speak with the Iranian Consul General. A Consular representative came out and accepted the statement on behalf of the Consulate. Eight media outlets covered the event.
“We do not know what will happen because of our witness at the Iranian Consulate,” reflected CPTers after concluding their action. “All we know is that we tried to communicate the distress of the displaced farmers and their families to persons in a position to influence the activities along the mountainous border of Iraq and Iran.”
Back at their home base in Suleimaniya a few days later, a CPTer walking in the historic market district was stopped by a stranger who said, “Thank you for what you did for us. We are really grateful.”