The Kurdish Right to Referendum and Independence
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.