IRAQ: CPT Iraq releases survey results on Kurdish civilian opinions toward cross-border attacks

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CPTnet

12
December 2011

IRAQ:
CPT Iraq releases survey results on Kurdish civilian opinions toward
cross-border attacks

On
December 5, 2011 CPT Iraq released the results of a survey that expressed the
views of almost 500 Kurdish civilians. The Iraq team along with several
partners conducted the survey entitled, “The Opinions and attitudes of the Kurdish
Regional Government’s (KRG’s) civilian population concerning the Turkish and
Iranian cross-border military operations” throughout the autumn.  The goal
of the survey had several facets:  1) to raise awareness in the Suleymania
governate civilian population of the bombing and shelling in the mountain
regions, 2) to discover the opinions of the mostly urban population regarding
the situation in the rural areas of their semi-autonomous regions and 3) to assist
in bringing the opinions of the civilian population about the bombings to the
Kurdish Regional Government, the Iraqi Central government and other international
organisations. Read the complete report here.  

The
mountainous northern Iraqi regions that contain small traditional villages have
experienced bombing and shelling from Turkey and Iran for the past six years.
These countries claim that these actions are in self-defense against the
mountain fighters – the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and the PJAK (Party for
Free Life in Kurdistan). However, the civilians living
in these villages are caught in the cross-fire and have had to leave their
homes to reside in tent camps. The cross-border attacks have occurred mostly
during the warmer months when the farmers are tending their crops. While they
are in the internally displaced person’s (IDP) camps, their homes, livestock
and crops have been devastated.

The
opinions expressed on the survey highlight that the Kurdish people not only
know about the cross border attacks, but that they are dissatisfied with their
government’s response to them. They feel that Turkey and Iran have broken moral
and international law. They think that the KRG should condemn the attacks in
the border regions and engage in peaceful negotiations with or without the help
of the United Nations and the rest of the international community.

The
survey was presented to the media on December 5. It was received warmly and
reported on by media from various political persuasions in the KRG. One
reporter commented, “Thank you so much for your work. There are not many
organisations looking at what is happening to the villagers in the border regions”.

Recent
news items in Kurdish northern Iraq illustrate that this survey is still
timely, even though the winter months have moved in. On December 6 Turkish
military forces began again to bomb the mountain villages in the Duhok
government area. This means that Kurdish villagers will be displaced from their
homes again, this time to spend winter months in temporary tent communities.

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