IRAQI KURDISTAN: Turkish and Iranian attacks hit Kurdish civilians: CPT report

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CPTnet
4 June 2012
IRAQI KURDISTAN: Turkish and Iranian attacks hit Kurdish
civilians: CPT report

The Iraqi Kurdistan
Christian Peacemaker Team publicly launched its latest report, Disrupted
Lives: the effects of cross-border attacks by Turkey and Iran on Kurdish
villages
in a 31 May press conference in Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan.

Disrupted Lives, available in Kurdish
and English
versions, details the effects of cross-border bombing and shelling attacks by Turkey
and Iran in the
Pshdar district of Iraqi Kurdistan over the course of 2011.

Both Turkey
and Iran conduct
ongoing attacks that have displaced villagers in the border regions every year since
2006. While they claim the attacks are necessary to combat guerrilla groups that
operate along the borders, civilians pay a heavy toll. Villagers have been
injured and even killed in the attacks.

During bombing and shelling, villagers flee
their homes to the relative safety of Internally Displaced Person camps, where
they have limited access to fresh foods, clean water and proper hygiene. Crop
and livestock loss and property damage bring economic hardship.

Children, too,
are victims of the cross-border operations, being more vulnerable to disease in
the camps and susceptible to psychological trauma from witnessing bombing and
shelling. Several schools were hit by shells, rendering them unfit for use and
forcing children to walk over two hours each day to attend class.

The press
conference, held in the courtyard of Sulaimani’s Culture Cafe, drew about
thirty people, including representatives from eight news agencies and
independent journalists. Presenting the report and fielding questions from the
audience were village leader Bapir, CPT partner Mohamed Salah, and CPTers
Lukasz Firla and Carrie Peters.

Villagers in Zharawa Internally Displaced Persons camp
      Internally displaced villagers in Zharawa camp and CPT visitors

Bapir, representing
twenty-five villages along the borders, urged those present not to forget Qandil,
a mountainous region of Kurdistan. He warned that
damaging the mountains and mountain villages threatens an integral part of
Kurdish identity, and called on the Kurdish Regional Government to seek a
solution.

Questioned by a
reporter about the Christian nature of CPT, Firla and Salah explained CPT’s work
as an international human rights organization. The team – which had already presented
its report to officials at the Turkish
, Iranian and French consulates in Iraqi
Kurdistan – stressed the need for cooperation between villagers, local and
international organizations and media in order to bring the government’s
attention to the villagers’ needs, and eventually an end to the attacks.

Independent news
channel NRT featured the press conference in its evening broadcast. Opposition
channel KNN and Islamic news channel Speda also covered the story.

The report
is available at the team’s web page.

An earlier report, Where
there is promise, there is tragedy
, includes more comprehensive resources
on the background and history of the cross-border attacks and the challenges
they pose to residents of the border regions.

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