IRAQ UPDATE: 1-16 June 2010

3 July 2010
IRAQ UPDATE: 1-16 June 2010


On team during this period were Peggy Gish, Brad Langendoen, Marius van Hoogstraten, and Chihchun Yuan.


Monitoring cross-border attacks and accompanying displaced villagers

The Iranian-Iraqi border areas saw particularly intensive bombing and shelling this period, which killed least one person, injured at least two, and displaced scores.  Ground troops also crossed into Iraq from both Iran and Turkey.  Recent waves of displaced people, particularly in Choman district, received visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross and from the Iraqi and U.S. military; the IDPs hope material aid will follow.

The team met with representatives of Amnesty International, who come to Iraqi Kurdistan twice a year to gather information about women's rights, gay and lesbian rights, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) situation, and press freedom.  The team gave them CPT's IDP report and briefed them on the recent bombing, and the IDP situation in Zharawa.

The team attended two rallies in Suleimaniya, calling for an end to the bombing.  CPTers brought banners and pictures of the people affected and gave some interviews.  Gish and a village representative made short speeches, before reporters interviewed them.

At a cultural event in the town of Ranya, CPT joined about a hundred young people playing music and displaying artworks in solidarity with the victims of the bombings.  After speeches by the Mayor of Ranya and the director of the Ranya Youth Center, Gish was invited to make a statement.


Accompanying Persons Persecuted for Political Affiliation

The team spoke to the family of Mr. Aziz, a supporter of the Goran (Change) list, facing death threats and harassment by the police and security services.  In May, he had been imprisoned for one night at the police station.  About two hours after his release, he received a threatening phone call.  Two of his friends received threats from the same phone number.  The police held on to Mr. Aziz' ID card after his release.  The twenty-one-year-old former Peshmerga, now staying at a new undisclosed location, expects the security service will continue to make his life difficult.


World Cup

After spending a long time and about $10.00 to get the TV satellite dish fixed, the team now has some 300 TV channels, none of which show the World Cup.  Fortunately, CPT's neighbor created an antenna out of a piece of wire, allowing the team to receive an additional three channels that do show the World Cup.

The team was disappointed, but not surprised, by North Korea's loss against Brazil.  As of this writing, they expect the last four to include Brazil, Argentina, Germany, and the Netherlands.  Yuan describes the vuvuzela, the plastic horn providing a characteristic hum as a backdrop for all games, as "not as bad as the news says it is."  (Currently the team comprises people from Canada, Holland, Taiwan, and the U.S.)