The Kur­dish Right to Ref­er­en­dum and In­de­pen­dence

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Gazi Has­san

In the past few weeks, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s Pres­i­dent of­fi­cially called on political par­ties to study hold­ing a ref­er­en­dum. Gen­er­ally, the par­ties are for the con­cept of ref­er­en­dum, and their sup­port could be a prac­ti­cal way to gain ground for win­ning the pub­lic opin­ion in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion to push the process for­ward on mak­ing a de­ci­sion on the fu­ture of the re­gion.

For some rea­sons, it could be pos­si­ble that some par­ties could in­tend to change the trend to the op­po­site di­rec­tion. The opin­ion of those con­sid­ered op­posed could be summed up as fol­low­ing: 1) Get­ting Bagh­dad and some re­gional coun­tries’ ap­proval if they are not with the ref­er­en­dum; 2) Claim­ing that the political sit­u­a­tion in Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is not ready for a ref­er­en­dum; 3) Us­ing fi­nan­cial crises, political and ad­min­is­tra­tive short­ages as pre­text to strike the no­tion; and 4) Bas­ing their ac­tions on political dis­agree­ment and con­flict.

In gen­eral, how­ever, the political par­ties sup­port the idea of a ref­er­en­dum. We know that a ref­er­en­dum doesn’t mean an in­stant dec­la­ra­tion of Kur­dish state, but rather it be­comes a con­sti­tu­tional and le­gal ba­sis for the up­com­ing phase, which is con­sti­tuted of the in­ter­nal, re­gional and in­ter­na­tional state of affairs, time and changes.

In es­tab­lish­ing the pub­lic opin­ion, the political elite and me­dia are not ac­tu­ally mak­ing an ef­fort to unify the peo­ple, thereby rais­ing aware­ness about ex­er­cis­ing their nat­u­ral and law­ful rights on the ref­er­en­dum ac­cord­ing the uni­ver­sal dec­la­ra­tion of hu­man rights by UN, Iraqi and the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion con­sti­tu­tion. In­stead, they are crit­i­ciz­ing the no­tion, cre­at­ing an un­sta­ble and un­clear opin­ion. The mat­ter has oc­cu­pied a great deal of time and space in me­dia out­lets, but they have done very lit­tle to­wards ex­plain­ing the hid­den aspects of the mat­ter and rais­ing peo­ple’s aware­ness about this right.

Some par­ties want to forgo the events, re­pro­duc­ing the EU’s at­ti­tude in or­der to de­value the ref­er­en­dum process. Ev­ery group, as­sem­bly and na­tional ci­ti­zen have their law­ful and nat­u­ral rights to hold a ref­er­en­dum. This right has been ex­er­cised freely with no cen­sor­ship or threat. The Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, af­ter all the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted against it, has the right to hold a ref­er­en­dum to de­ter­mine its fu­ture.

The political pow­ers in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion will hold a ref­er­en­dum in a demo­cratic, peace­ful process, and will hand over the au­thor­ity and de­ci­sion to the peo­ple. This is ac­tu­ally re­lated to a leader’s com­mit­ment to the peo­ple’s opin­ions and at­ti­tudes in the cru­cial de­ci­sions. So it is the peo­ple’s right to take their stance for a bet­ter fu­ture of dis­tanc­ing them­selves from political and eco­nomic threats, ter­ror­ism and vi­o­lence within the law­ful rights. Even if Bagh­dad didn’t refuse the de­ci­sion, it would soon un­der­stand the value of the process and would sup­port it. The best choice for all Iraqi mem­bers is that peo­ple them­selves can de­cide, not the politi­cians. Peo­ple should be re­spon­si­ble, not political par­ties. If the Euro­pean coun­tries and U.S stood against this inherent right of the peo­ple in Kur­dis­tan, then we should re­con­sider all the philoso­phies and moral­i­ties that the West is claim­ing, be­cause deny­ing this right would re­sult in re-en­slave­ment of the peo­ple of Kur­dis­tan.

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