Cam­paign­ers win Par­lia­men­tary de­bate in UK on Kur­dish geno­cide in Iraq

The Kurdish Globe - - EDITORIAL -

It has been an­nounced on Thurs­day Fe­bru­ary 14th that the Bri­tish Par­lia­ment will de­bate a mo­tion call­ing for for­mal recog­ni­tion of the mass mur­der of Kur­dish peo­ple in Iraq as geno­cide. The news fol­lows a tire­less cam­paign for recog­ni­tion, sup­ported by more than 27,500 Bri­tish ci­ti­zens, who have all signed an e-pe­ti­tion de­mand­ing jus­tice for the mur­dered Kurds.

The de­bate will take place in the main cham­ber at 1:30pm on the 28th Fe­bru­ary. It will be based on a votable mo­tion, the suc­cess­ful end re­sult of which would be that Par­lia­ment will have rec­og­nized the geno­cide.

The de­bate it­self rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant vic­tory for the cam­paign e-pe­ti­tion, spon­sored by Nad­him Za­hawi MP, which was launched in March last year in a bid to urge the Bri­tish Government to de­bate the mass killings and rec­og­nize the truth. The cam­paign has since been sup­ported through­out the year by the Kur­dish com­mu­nity, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Government UK Rep­re­sen­ta­tion, and Bri­tish MPs from all po­lit­i­cal par­ties, es­pe­cially those who are mem­bers of the highly sup­port­ive All Party Par­lia­men­tary Group for Kur­dis­tan in­clud­ing Robert Hal­fon MP, and Meg Munn MP. To­gether, they re­cently made a suc­cess­ful pre­sen­ta­tion to the Back Bench Busi­ness Com­mit­tee which al­lo­cates time for de­bates in Par­lia­ment.

Dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, Nad­him Za­hawi MP told the Com­mit­tee that his fa­ther was forced to flee Iraq sim­ply be­cause he was Kur­dish and he was not will­ing to join the Baath party. He said that Bri­tain has been heav­ily in­volved with the Kur­dish peo­ple go­ing back to Sykes-Pi­cot, but more re­cently with Sir John Ma­jor who saved the Kur­dish peo­ple with the no-fly zone and Tony Blair who is seen as the lib­er­a­tor of the Kurds.

Robert Hal­fon MP said that un­less the geno­cide is rec­og­nized in­ter­na­tion­ally, peo­ple can­not be brought to jus­tice. Mean­while, Meg Munn MP said that the de­bate would have a wider res­o­nance given events in Syria, and Fabian Hamil­ton MP cited good cross-party sup­port for a de­bate. Ja­son McCart­ney MP, who served as a Royal Air Force of­fi­cer in the no-fly zone in Zakho, said it would be a fit­ting trib­ute to have the de­bate on the 25th an­niver­sary of the chem­i­cal weapons at­tack on Hal­abja.

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Government High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the UK, Ms Bayan Sami Ab­dul Rah­man said, "The geno­cide brought unimag­in­able suf­fer­ing to our peo­ple: fam­i­lies were torn apart, sons and fa­thers killed en masse or sim­ply buried alive, women and chil­dren bombed with poi­son gas. We be­lieve that this suf­fer­ing needs to be ac­knowl­edged, not just by us Kurds and Iraqis, but by our friends too, so that the vic­tims' fam­i­lies and the sur­vivors can reach clo­sure and a mes­sage is sent out to any other regime op­press­ing its peo­ple or con­sid­er­ing us­ing chem­i­cal weapons. Imag­ine how heart­ened the sur­vivors who are now Bri­tish ci­ti­zens would feel to be in the cham­ber, lis­ten­ing to such a de­bate."

Ms Ab­dul Rah­man also told the com­mit­tee in a let­ter how the Swedish and Nor­we­gian par­lia­ments re­cently de­bated the geno­cide and the Kur­dish com­mu­nity is won­der­ing why Bri­tain had not yet done the same.

In Jan­uary, the Bri­tish Government is­sued a re­sponse to the e-pe­ti­tion which ac­knowl­edged that no group suf­fered more than the Iraqi Kurds. How­ever, the Government re­sponse went on to say that It re­mains the Gov­ern­ments view that it is not for gov­ern­ments to de­cide whether a geno­cide has been com­mit­ted in this case, as this is a com­plex le­gal ques­tion.

The de­bate on the 28th Fe­bru­ary may en­cour­age the Government to change its po­si­tion.

An ex­te­rior view of the UK Par­lia­ment Build­ing.

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