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Erbil / Kurdistan

Society for Threatened Peoples founds section in Kurdistan / Iraq

Bolzano/Bozen, Göttingen, Erbil, 6. June 2006

The Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) has founded a section in the peaceful Iraqi state of Kurdistan. "Iraqi Kurdistan is an ideal place for a human rights organisation setting itself out to protect the discriminated and persecuted ethnic and religious minorities in the Near East", said the President of the GfbV International, Tilman Zülch, at a press conference of its international human rights organisation in the parliament buildings of the federal state in Erbil. "While terror attacks in south and central Iraq take toll of countless victims, political conflicts in Kurdistan are settled in a civilised way. This federal state in the north of Iraq is in the midst of far-reaching changes and religious and ethnic communities can now develop in peace."

The Kurdish member of parliament and chairperson of the foundation committee, Dr. Nasih Ghafuri, declared in Erbil today, on Tuesday, in Erbil that the advisory board of the new human rights organisation reflects the pluralism of Kurdish society. "We recognize here only larger and smaller peoples, no minorities." This is also the conviction of President Masud Barzani. So the national government runs apart from the Kurdish school system also one for the Aramaic-speaking Assyro-Chaldeans and the Turkmans, supporting their culture institutes and subsidizing their media.

The advisory board of the GfbV Kurdistan/Iraq is made up of 20 persons, among them being Kurdish, Assyro-Chaldean, Turkman and Yesidi members of parliament, the Deputy President of Parliament, a Christian minister, representatives of organisations of the smaller peoples and religious minorities of north Iraq, the Chairperson of the Kurdish Women's Union, Islamic, Christian and Yesidi ministers and persons from the world of science and culture. The Kurdish associations of victims, among them the union of former political prisoners, who had to suffer in tens of thousands in the camps of Saddam Hussein, are also represented on the board just like the women from the Barzan area, who are lamenting the abduction and shooting of 8,000 of their sons and husbands, or the so-called Anfal Centre, the spokesperson of which estimates the number of victims of the Baath regime's operation of destruction in Kurdistan carrying the same name to be 180,000.

The GfbV welcomes all measures taken by the government of the Iraqi federal state of Kurdistan for the reception and settlement of Assyro-Chaldean Christian refugees and displaced persons from central and southern Iraq. "It is good to see that villages and houses are being rebuilt for them or newly built and that these people are receiving social assistance. It would indeed be good if German churches, firms and the German government would increase their assistance here to enable a larger number of the Assyro-Chaldeans who have fled to Jordan and Syria to settle in Iraqi Kurdistan", said Zülch.

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