Members of CPT’s team in Iraqi Kurdistan visited a
camp for internally displaced persons near Zharawa on 31 October 2008
and saw fifty families from nine surrounding villages living under
deplorable conditions. The families fled their villages after aerial
bombardment and shelling by Turkish planes from the north and Iranian
missiles from the west. CPT heard bombs in the distance while
visiting the camp.

Since December 2007, the U.S. military has opened air
space to Turkey along the northern border of the Kurdish Regional
Governorate and provided intelligence for incursions against the
Kurdish worker’s party, PKK, which both governments label a
terrorist group. The people and leadership in the many villages
attacked say that no PKK militants were in their villages.

A small river next to the camp flooded the
tents two months ago and ruined everything. The people said that if
they had not been warned of rainwater coming down the mountain they
would have drowned.

The families had asked permission to set up a camp in
Zharawa but the municipality turned them away. They also attempted
to buy land there-200 square meters costs about $130-but the
authorities refused to allow them to do so. One woman told CPT,
“Winter is coming and it is very hard to live here but too
dangerous to go back. The bombing is very severe. One day Turkey
and Iran both attacked at the same time. And we can’t go to the
towns either. What are we going to do?” Another said “The problem
is not that I need someone to build me a house. I’ll build my house
again with my own hands. The ICRC says we will build you a house if
we get permission. We need you to raise our voice…. We are asking
everyone to stop the bombing.” Another added, “Before the
bombings our lives were happy, taking care of our animals. We can go
back if it is safe and have our lives back…. We are grateful if
you can raise our voice.”

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