Tags: Iraqi women demonstrate against proposed new law
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – About two dozen Iraqi women demonstrated on Saturday in Baghdad against a draft law approved by the Iraqi cabinet that would permit the marriage of nine-year-old girls and automatically give child custody to fathers.
The group’s protest was on International Women’s Day and a week after the cabinet voted for the legislation, based on Shi’ite Islamic jurisprudence, allowing clergy to preside over marriages, divorces and inheritances. The draft now goes to parliament.
“On this day of women, women of Iraq are in mourning,” the protesters shouted.
“We believe that this is a crime against humanity,” said Hanaa Eduar, a prominent Iraqi human rights activist. “It would deprive a girl of her right to live a normal childhood.”
The UN’s representative to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, also condemned the legislation. Mladenov wrote on Twitter the bill “risks constitutionally protected rights for women and international commitment”.
The legislation goes to the heart of the divisions in Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, as Shi’ite Islamists have come to lead the government and look to impose their religious values on society at large.
It describes girls as reaching puberty at nine, making them fit for marriage, makes the father sole guardian of his children at two and condones a husband’s right to insist on sexual intercourse with his wife whenever he wishes.
The legislation is referred to as the Ja’afari Law, named after the sixth Shi’ite imam Ja’afar al-Sadiq, who founded his own school of jurisprudence.
The draft was put forward by Justice Minister Hassan al-Shimari, a member of the Shi’ite Islamist Fadila party, and approved by the cabinet on February 25.
It must now be reviewed by parliament, but the draft could very well languish, with national elections scheduled for April 30, and vocal opposition among secularists.
Shi’ite religious parties first attempted to pass a version of the law in 2003 under U.S. occupation, angering secular Iraqis and prompting protests. Since then, amid Iraq’s turmoil, the tug-of-war has continued between Iraq’s secularists and Islamists.
Iraq’s current personal status law enshrines women’s rights regarding marriage, inheritance, and child custody, and has often been held up as the most progressive in the Middle East.
The proposed new law’s defenders argue that the current personal status law violates sharia religious law.
“This is the core of the freedom. Based on the Iraqi constitution, each component of the Iraqi people has the right to regulate its personal status in line with the instructions of its religion and doctrine,” said Hussein al-Mura’abi, a Shi’ite lawmaker and Fadila party leader.
(Reporting by Suadad al-Salhy. Editing by Ned Parker and Andrew Roche)
Forget Obama and the EU. The man who should really have the Nobel Peace Prize is an obscure Iraqi clericMarch 7, 2014 at 1:11 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani
Colin Freeman is the Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph. His latest book is Kidnapped: life as a hostage on Somalia’s pirate coast.
Forget Obama and the EU. The man who should really have the Nobel Peace Prize is an obscure Iraqi cleric
With the Oscars over, shortlists are now being drawn up for that other big awards ceremony for the great and the good. The beginning of March is when the Norwegian Nobel Committee starts considering nominations for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the winner to be announced in October.
If that seems like a long time, bear in mind that just like the Oscars, the judges in the Nobel Prize have their work cut out these days, sifting through all kinds of nominations that are far more about politics than peace.
Would you nominate this man? Edward Snowden
Gone are the years where the award would simply go to some statesman who’d worked behind the scenes to end some long-term conflict. These days, a far more flexible definition of peace is deployed. On the 2014 list, for example, is the whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has been nominated by a Norwegian socialist for re-introducing “trust and transparency in global security policies.” Has he? I don’t think anyone’s told Vladimir Putin.
Then in 2009, the prize went to a newly-elected President Obama, long before he’d had a chance to prove himself in bringing peace to Syria or stopping World War III in Ukraine. At least, though, Mr Obama had the humility to sound surprised about winning it. Unlike the EU, which, when given the prize in 2012 for promoting “democracy and human rights,” issued a press release describing it as the “the strongest possible recognition.”
Indeed, given the number of peacemaking gongs they’ve notched up already, one can’t help thinking that the the EU and US should be wiping the floor with Mr Putin over Ukraine. How can he possibly resist such pacifist expertise? Shouldn’t he be out there in Sebastopol already, shoving flowers into his soldiers’ gun barrels? Maybe, in the peace and love spirit, Mr Obama should revert to his old drug habit and pass Mr Putin a spliff… in which case, bring in also Uruguay’s President José Mujica, who is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee this year for legalising marijuana.
Yet those who cling to the unfashionable idea that Peace Prize nominees should have some track record in stopping people killing should not despair. There are still plenty of worthy candidates out there, and I can think of one myself. His nomination papers would read roughly as follows:
A who has preached peace and between two warring sides. A man who has urged his people never to retaliate, even when provoked by the murders of thousands of their men, women and children. A man who lives quietly and modestly, who seeks neither personal gain nor political office – much less any recognition via a peace prize.
No, I’m not talking about a posthumous award for Nelson Mandela (he won it in 1993). Instead, the man I have in mind is Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the highest ranking Shia Muslim cleric in Iraq, who has done arguably more than anyone to turn the country away from all-out civil war.
Grand Ayatollah who? No, you may never have heard of him. Unlike some Iraqi religious leaders, he doesn’t make a habit of going on television and waving a Kalashnikov around. Nor has he ever been pictured with Bush or Blair. Indeed, to my knowledge, he has never consented to meet a single Western politician.
Instead, the 83-year-old mullah just gets quietly got on with his job, living in a modest house down a side street in the holy city of Najaf, and issuing various edicts for his followers, who make up the vast majority of moderate Iraqi Shias.
True, some of these edicts are not very progressive as far as the average Scandinavian Nobel prize judge is concerned. Like most Shia clerics, Sistani doesn’t approve of dancing or drinking. And in 2006, he issued a fatwah calling for homosexuals to be killed “in the most severe way” (it was later retracted, with some claiming it was issued erroneously by an aide).
But by Iraqi standards, he’s been an outstanding voice of moderation, peace and tolerance, without whom the country would probably be a far bloodier place than it already is.
To get an idea of this, you have to go back to just after the US invasion, when the ex-Baathists of Iraq’s Sunni minority formed their unholy alliance with the Sunni zealots of Al-Qaeda. While killing Americans was one of their priorities, their other real passion was killing Shias, whom they viewed not just as US collaborators but as apostates too.
In the decade since, the Shia community has suffered the most appalling provocation. Most of the car bombs that have gone off in Baghdad over the years have been targeted at Shia neighbourhoods, killing thousands. Sunni death squads regularly ambush Shia pilgrims as they head to Sistani’s city of Najaf, turning the annual holy festivals into a ritual slaughter. In 2006, al-Qaeda also bombed the Shia holy shrine at Samarra, an act roughly the equivalent to destroying St Peter’s Basilica.
Yet throughout all this bloodshed, Sistani has beseeched ordinary Shias not to retaliate. No, he has not been entirely successful. In the year that followed shrine attack, a low-level Sunni-Shia civil war broke out, with tens of thousands dying in tit-for-tat violence.
But as with so many things in Iraq, the horrors that actually took place were nothing compared to how bad it could have been. In telling his fellow Iraqis to turn the other cheek, sometimes when it was quite literally stained with their loved one’s blood, Sistani has helped averted all-out disaster, and is credited as such by many Western diplomats. He continues in this role today, as a resurgent al-Qaeda continues to re-ignite the civil war.
What makes Sistani all the more statesmanlike, though, is that he preaches peace while getting precious little thanks for it from those around him. Fellow Shias accuse him of being too timid in the face of Sunni aggression. Al-Qaeda hate him for unsportingly refusing to join in their sectarian civil war. But these are not the only matters on which he has gone against the grain. During the American occupation, he refused to ever sanction attacks on US troops, despite the street cred this would have won him in some Iraqi circles. And to the irritation of his fellow Shia mullahs in neighbouring Iran, he remains resolutely of the “quietist” school of Islam, which says religion has no place in government.
Yet unlike Mandela or the Dalai Lama, this reclusive, media-unfriendly cleric has no armies of bein-pensant wellwishers in the West. Indeed, the man who has arguably done more than anyone else for Middle Eastern peace has virtually no recognition among the keffiyah-wearing classes.
True, a group of Iraqi Christians nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, for giving “Muslims all around the globe a good example how to follow peaceful ways”. But to my knowledge, he’s never made the shortlist, and today, rather than going on global lecture tours, he’s still holed up in that alleyway in Najaf, trying to bring peace to Iraq.
In other words, perhaps he’s just a bit too “quietist” to be a modern Nobel Peace Prize winner…
Why the inhabitants of the Belgian village of FAYMONVILLE are called ‘Turks’.
Tags: Armenian issue in Caucasus, Ayhan Demirci, Azerbaijan conf ULB, Azerbaijan conference at ULB, Ganira Pashayeva
Kafkasya ve Bölgede Ermeni Sorunu konulu – Armenian issue in Caucasus and its Region
Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
28th February 2014
Merry Fitzgerald, Europe-Iraqi Turkmen Friendships – Dr. Ganira Pashayeva, Member of the Azerbaijan Parliament – Dr Hassan Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative
Ayhan Demirci, Azerbaycan – Belcika Dostluk Cemiyeti - H.E. Fuat Iskenderov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan -Dr. Ganira Pashayeva, Member of the Azerbaijan Parliament – Dr. Vefa Kurban, Dokuz Eylül University Faculty Member – Michel Ivor, Caucasus Specialist.
Nuri Sarikaya, Ayhan Demirci, Dr Hassan Aydinli, Elchan Mirgasjimli, Kenan Dağgün, Vugar Abbasov
Gulnisa Taipova, Uyghur Representative - Dr. Ganira Pashayeva, Member of the Azerbaijan Parliament – Dr Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative – Merry Fitzgerald, Europe-Iraqi Turkmen Friendships.
Konferans’ta bir selamlama konuşması yaparak konferansı tertipleyenlere ve katılımcılara teşekkür eden Azerbaycan Cumhuriyeti Brüksel-Lüksemburg ve AB Nezdinde Büyükelçi Fuat İskenderov’un ardından, Kafkasya Uzmanı Araştırmacı Michel Ivor “20 Yıldır Devam Eden Azerbaycan Topraklarının İşgali”, Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi Öğretim Üyesi Dr. Vefa Kurban “Türkiye ve Bölgenin Ermeni Sorunu” ve Azerbaycan Milletvekili Dr. Ganire Pashayeva “Azerbaycan’ın Ermeni Sorunu” başlığıyla konferanslarını sinevizyon eşliğinde sundular.
Konuşmacılar, Kafkaslarda var olan Ermeni sorununu tarihi hakkında tahliller yaparak, günümüzdeki gelişmeler ve uluslararası politikalardaki konumunu enine boyuna anlattılar.
Ermeni sorunu bir emperyalist oyunu olup, özellikle batılı ülkelerin Türkiye ve Azerbaycan’ı köşeye sıkıştırmak için kullandıkları Uluslararası bir oyunun parçasıdır. Birinci Dünya savaşı esnasında Batılılar, özellikle Fransa ve Rusya Ermenistan Devleti kurma adına Osmanlı’ya karşı Ermeni çeteleri desteklemişlerdir.
Ermeniler, ‘Sözde Ermeni katliamı’adı altında ülke parlamentolarında sözde kararlar çıkararak, haksız davranışlarını ve yalanlarını tescil ettirmeye çalışmaktalar. Ermeni Lobisi özellikle 1915 olaylarının 100. Yıldönümü olan 2015’de bu yalanlarını daha da artırarak, mazlum rolü oynayacaktır.
Ermeniler, 1992 yılında işledikleri Hocalı katliamıyla kimin soykırmcı olduğunu yakın tarihte ispatlamışlardır. Türk dünyası, İslam alemi ve Dünya uyanık olmalı. ‘Ermenilerin tarih bilimini inkar ederek, siyasi satrançta kullanmaya çalıştıkları ‘Ermeni soykırım’ piyonu’nu kullanmaya devam edeceklerdir . Özellikle Avrupa Birliği Ermenistan’ın mütevazci tutumunu kınayarak, Hocalı katliamın şiddetle kınayıp ve Ermenistan’ın işgal edilmiş toprakları iade etmesi için diplomatik atılımları ve adımlarını hızlandırmaları gerekir. İnsan haklarıyla övünen Avrupa Parlamentosu’ nun, İnsan Haklarını ayaklar altına alan bir Ermenistan’ın politikalarına destek vermesi , stratejik ve ilkeli politikasına yönelik çifte standarttır » vurgusu yaptılar.
Azerbaycan ve Türk Sivil toplum kuruluşları ve akademi dünyasından katılımcıların bulunduğu konferansta, Belçika Azerbaycan Dostluk Cemiyeti Başkanı Ayhan Demirci tüm konuşmacı ve katılımcılara teşekkür etti.
Konferans aile resim çekimi ve verilen bir resepsiyonla son buldu.
MEP Metin Kazak: The EU should pay special attention to the deteriorating human rights situation of the Turkmens in IraqFebruary 28, 2014 at 2:07 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: Metin Kazak
MEP Metin Kazak: The EU should pay special attention to the deteriorating human rights situation of the Turkmens in Iraq
Un grand merci à Monsieur Metin Kazak, le député qui a le plus oeuvré au sein du
parlement européen pour faire connaître la cause des Turkmènes irakiens.
La Représentation du Front Turkmène irakien auprès de l’Union européenne
Tags: Baroness of Winterbourne, Emma Nicholson
PHOTO: Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne and Tony Blair
FEBRUARY 26, 2014
On the “Noble” Shift From Human Rights to Mega Contracts
The Curious Case of the Baroness of Winterbourne and Iraq
On the “Noble” Shift From Human Rights to Mega Contracts
by HAIFA ZANGANA
PM David Cameron has recently appointed Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne as his Trade Envoy to Iraq. The Baroness described Iraqi economy as “vibrant and booming “, urging the UK to make “the best of the enormous opportunities Iraq offers us”. The pre invasion high profile of Nicholson on Iraq was related to human rights, so what does this switch to being the Prime Minister’s trade envoy mean? And is there a link between the old and new roles?
As to be expected, Nicholson made no mention of the massive human rights abuses in Iraq, documented by international bodies, or in its sectarian policy and bombardment of cities. No mention also, even in terms of regret or remediation, of the human cost , long passed hundreds of thousands, caused by the US –UK invasion and occupation. And on trade, no mention, even as hope for improvement, of the institutionalised corruption of the regime which made Iraq ranks 171st among 177 nations on the list of corruption index.
One might argue, why should she? The Baroness, after all, is a politician cashing on behalf of her political party and government. Well, this could have been acceptable have the politician we’re talking about is not Emma Nicholson who for many decades presented herself to the world as the mother Teresa of human rights, defending in particular, Iraqis’ human rights under Saddam’s rule. Until 2003, Nicholson was known as one of the most outspoken British politicians against Saddam Hussain (even Tony Blair was not a competition) defending relentlessly the Human Rights of the Sukan Al-ahwar (Marsh Arabs of Iraq) and the Kurds in Halabja.
Nicholson spared no action to defend Iraqis’ “human rights”, from calling in 1988 for the establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal to try Saddam and his key officials for genocide to establishing a charity named after an Iraqi boy who she adopted, from writing books and articles to speaking tours in UK and US. Nicholson was a fierce advocate of the war and occupation not for oil and business contracts but, we were told, to; “free the Iraqi people from terrible tyranny” and British people “should be proud of the important part that we played in freeing the Iraqi people from their decades-long misery.”
Who would argue with such noble mission? However, what followed in the aftermath of the invasion left many Iraqis flabbergasted. Nicholson has shifted her role from an outspoken champion of human rights to an Executive Chairman of the Iraq Britain Business Council outspoken on how to“ fight for lucrative contracts “ and how to compete for mega defence contracts with a brutal sectarian corrupt regime while tongue-tied on the human rights of the same people she claimed to defend before the invasion. Is The Baroness’s deafening silence on the well documented crimes and human rights violations in the last ten years, eight years of them under Nouri Al Malik’s regime related to her appointment as an Honorary Adviser to Nouri Al Maliki, in the field of Health?
Iraqi Journalist Ali Abdul Amir Ajam, a long opponent of Saddam and an admirer of Nicholson’s work, questioned in an article titled “what a low price for a baroness” her silence at a time when Iraqi doctors are targeted or forced to leave the country. “Today, nothing worries the Baroness about Iraq, but the promotion of its leaders and their achievements in reconstruction, and the security and stability for the major oil companies. Today, the Baroness who used to be obsessed by Freedom for Iraq has nothing to do with the suffering of Iraqis and the violations of their basic human rights”, he wrote.
Over the last eight weeks, the siege and bombardment of Falluja and Ramadi , in Anbar province west of Iraq, up to 300,000 Iraqis have been displaced. According to UNHCR the new IDPs are on top of Iraq’s population of more than 1.1 million displaced persons, “They are residing in schools, mosques and other public buildings and urgently need various humanitarian items. Pregnant women and children need medical care while all families are in need of drinking water, milk and other food aid, diapers, beds and cooking items.” a consignment of World Health Organization (WHO) medical supplies has reportedly been detained at an Iraqi Army checkpoint since 30 January.
The indiscriminate use of violence on civilians by the Iraqi regime’s forces under the pretext of fighting terrorism has reached unprecedented level. Fallujah hospital was bombarded. Patients and doctors have to be evacuated Which brings back to memory the “shake and bake” US forces policy in 2004. Hundreds of civilians have been killed or wounded.
In Falluja and more than 1,000 people were killed and another 2,024 people were wounded in Iraq in January.
In a recent interview she was asked: “you know the PM well, this is a man many people say his policies have prompted this violence, what do you say to him. It is “the Sunni Shia violence stemming from Syria in the last year”, no mention of Al Maliki what so ever though assuring businessmen “that all big companies are doing wonderful work”.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been demonstrating in various provinces facing intimidation, detention and targeting.
“Iraqi authorities are detaining thousands of Iraqi women illegally and subjecting many to torture and ill-treatment, including the threat of sexual abuse,” says HRW. Not a word from the Baroness, but her happy photos with Al Maiki speaks louder than words; the embodiment of double standards where Democracy and human rights instead of being applicable to all equally according to law, have become an open text subjected to a multi level “interpretations”. Impunity became the norm to be enjoyed by some governments and their allies no matter how brutal they are against their own people when acting by proxy. This lethal combination of double standards with the silence or impotence of international community in some cases, have legitimise the rise to extremism.
Haifa Zangana is an Iraqi novelist, artist and activist. Her recent books are “Dreaming of Baghdad” and “City of Widows: An Iraqi Woman’s Account of War and Resistance” and co authored “The Torturer in the Mirror” with Ramsey Clark and Thomas Ehrlich Reifer. She has also published three novels and four collections of short stories and many chapters in books on Iraq and the ME. As a painter and writer she participated in the Eighties in various European and American publications and group exhibitions, with one-woman shows in London and Iceland. She is also a contributor to European and Arabic publications such as The Guardian, Red Pepper, Al Ahram weekly and Al Quds (weekly comment). She contributes to academic conferences on women, gender, resistance and war. Haifa is co-founder of Tadhamun: Iraqi Women Solidarity, founding member of the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies (IACIS) and advisor for UNDP on “Towards the Rise of women in the Arab world”. Currently she is a consultant at ESCWA.
Tags: Harith Hassan, Iraqi nationalism, Sectarianism in Iraq
A Critical Look At Iraqi Nationalism and Sectarianism, An Interview With Author Harith Hasan
|World War I led to the creation of new countries like Iraq in the Middle East by the European Powers (World-ology)|
|Modernization and capitalism led to a huge migration from the countryside to the cities where many lived in make shift houses like these seen in Baghdad in the 1950s (Magnum Pictures)|
Tags: CONF EU PARL HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE IN IRAQ
19th February 2014
HIGH-LEVEL BRUSSELS CONFERENCE EXPOSES HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE IN IRAQ
A high-level conference involving some of the most prominent political and religious leaders in Iraq, was held in the European Parliament, Brussels, on Wednesday 19th February. Organised and chaired by Struan Stevenson, MEP, President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, the conference focused on human rights in Iraq and featured speeches from Sheik Dr Rafe Al Refaei – Grand Mufti of Iraq, Saleem Abdullah Al-Jabori – Chair of the HR Committee in the Council of Representatives, Haidar Mulla – Member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir – KRG Head of Department of Foreign Relations, Yonadam Kanna – Chair of the Labour and Social Affairs Committee in the Iraqi Council of Representatives, Kamel Zozo – Syriac Assyrian Chaldean Movement, Elisabetta Zamparutti – ‘Hands Off Cain’ NGO, Btrus Sliwa – Head of the KRG’s Independent Human Rights Board, Dr Abdul- Razzaq Rahim al- Shemmeri- Spokesman for the Herak Delegation from Al Anbar Governorate, Dr Sabah Al-Mukhtar – President of the Arab Lawyers Union, UK, Dr Mohammad Taha Hamdoon, Spokesman of the Popular Movement in Iraq, Dr Moneir Hashm Al-Aobyde, Spokesman for the Movement of Baghdad and many others. The eminent speakers were welcomed by Dr. Charles Tannock MEP, Foreign Affairs Spokesman for the ECR Group.
Many Iraqi guests had travelled to Brussels to participate in the conference, which follows the publication of a highly critical report on Iraq by the European Parliament’s Directorate-General for External Policies – entitled “Iraq’s deadly spiral towards a civil war”. A resolution condemning the on-going violence and abuse of human rights in Iraq is also under preparation in the European Parliament and will be debated in Strasbourg next Wednesday, 26th February. The draft resolution refers repeatedly to the damning report on the abuse of women in Iraq published recently by Human Rights Watch.
Speaking after the Conference, Struan Stevenson MEP said:
“Last November, I was in Iraq. I met with many leading politicians, religious leaders and with courageous men and women who had led popular uprisings and protests in Al Anbar and 6 provinces of Iraq and in many Iraqi cities. The message from all of them was identical. They told me that lawlessness, terrorism, corruption and the systematic abuse of human rights are each a daily feature of life in Iraq. They told me that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is rapidly becoming another Saddam Hussein and that modern Iraq is a dust bowl of violence and bloodshed. More than 9,500 people died last year in bomb attacks and assassinations in an increasingly ugly insurgency that threatens to take the country back to the civil war that erupted from 2006-2008. Over 1000 have died already this year.
“It was these same people, people from different ethnic backgrounds, from different faiths and creeds, but who share a desire to see freedom, democracy, justice and peace restored to their country, who urged me to organise today’s conference, so that they could come to the European Parliament and reveal the truth about Iraq to the West. I am deeply grateful to them and thank them for the expense, effort and courage they have expended to come here today.
“They told us in graphic detail how Maliki is using the Iraqi military in a genocidal campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Sunni population of Ramadi and Fallujah, aided and abetted by a generous supply of missiles, rockets, drones and other weaponry from the US, which he uses to slaughter his own people, on the pretext that they are terrorists. The US has even decided to sell and rent Maliki Apache helicopters which he will use to massacre men, women and children in Al Anbar. It is an outrage.
“I am also appalled at the treatment of the 3000 refugees in Camp Liberty who are incarcerated in prison-like conditions and where the Iraqis are even restricting supplies of food and preventing emptying of sewage tanks, causing the camp to flood with polluted sewerage water and risking health. These defenceless people have been repeatedly attacked by Maliki’s forces, including the horrific massacre of 52 of their colleagues in Camp Ashraf last September, when 7 hostages were seized, 6 of whom are women and nothing has been heard from them since. The limp-wristed response from the west has simply encouraged further atrocities of this kind.
“It is time the West woke up to the tragedy of Iraq. It was the US and the UK – George W. Bush and Tony Blair – who invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam, declaring: “Mission accomplished”. They boasted that they had left behind “a functioning democracy”, when in fact they left behind a basket case. It was the US who colluded with Iran to return Maliki to power after the last election, even although he had lost that election by 2 seats. Now, in breach of the Erbil Agreement, Maliki has retained control over the Defence, Intelligence and Interior Ministries in his own office and he has even created new, independent security 6 intelligence organisation that is answerable only to him, giving him despotic powers.
“There is still time for the West to reassert its authority and make amends for its disastrous intervention in Iraq. The UN, US and EU must tell Maliki that his whirlwind of bloodshed, violence, corruption and abuse will no longer be tolerated. Unless there are free and fair elections on 30th April that can restore a semblance of democracy to Iraq and provide the beleaguered people of that country with a non-sectarian, secular government, committed to the restoration of the rule of law and respect for human rights, then the economic umbilical cord to the West must be severed.”
In his address to the conference Dr Rafe Al Refaei – the Grand Mufti of Iraq, said: “Maliki is following a heinous policy of indiscriminate bombings of innocent people. The people of Al-Anbar did not start the war. We did everything to reach a peaceful settlement. Maliki forces attacked the peaceful rallies. They have bombarded the houses of innocent people. My own brother was killed last week in the bombardment and was not from al Qaeda or from Daesh. When Maliki launched his so-called war against terrorists in the desert in Anbar province not a single combatant of al Qaeda was killed. The only people killed were innocent shepherds. What is happening in Fallujah is genocide. 1000 civilians have been injured. Events in Iraq have taken a very dangerous turn. It could lead to a civil war in which all Iraqi people will lose. The European Parliament should deal with this matter. We’ve been handed on a golden platter to the Iranian govt.”
Saleem Abdullah Al-Jabori – Chair of the HR Committee in the Council of Representatives said: “We called on the international community to come to our rescue, but we were faced with just talk and no action. Now Iraqi women’s tears have dried up. We’re sick of unfulfilled promises. But all of this has not put an end to bloodshed in Iraq. All of the violations are serious, all are important. They are issues of international governance and international law. We Iraqis are the ones who suffer. Investigators use torture to obtain confessions. We need to adopt legislation that will put a stop to violations of prisoners. A person can be detained for years on false accusations. But HR violations will not lead to the eradication of terrorism. Our committee has managed to get many women released from prison. Iraq is rich in diversity, but the killing still goes on. There are around 10 car bombs every day. The Iraqi media should be given more freedom to report the truth. Tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced in al Anbar Province. A generation has lost all of its rights.”
Haidar Mulla – Member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives said: “Mr Stevenson has increased the influence of the EU in Iraq and in particular, he has increased the importance of HR. We had hoped that Iraq would become a democracy after the fall of the previous regime. But our HR record is not something we should be proud of. Our task is difficult and complex. We have to pave the way for a culture that respects HR. Until now GoI did not implement article 19 on HR. This is not a gift to the people. It is their right. Currently there is a ratio of one military personnel to 27 civilians and even so we cannot live peacefully. We have a political crisis and we have to deal with it politically.”
Btrus Sliwa – Head of the Independent KRG Human Rights Board said: “The Ministry of HR was abolished in 2009 because it was being politically influenced. The government set up an independent board not linked to any political body. There is a high rate of domestic violence against women in parts of Kurdistan which we have legislated to stop. There are also now an estimated 200,000 IDPs in Kurdistan as well as over 200,000 refugees from Syria.”
Dr Abdul-Razzaq Rahim Al Shemmeri – speaker for the Herak Delegation from the al-Anbar Governorate said: “This is my first time in the EU and I have come to bring the true voice of Anbar to the European Parliament. Why do you turn a blind eye to the Shia militias who slaughter our people? The Sunni movement entered the conflict through the demonstrations and sit-ins which started in 2012. But it was clear from the start that there was no political will to deal with the demonstrators in a peaceful way. Maliki’s army invaded the places where the demonstrators were gathering. The crimes being committed there are similar to Bosnia, Herzegovina. Anti-terrorist forces were sent by the GoI in 2013 to arrest leaders of the so-called terrorist movement in Anbar under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Maliki resorted to threatening us, stating it was a rebellion under influence of foreign forces. He told his forces to finish us off before we finished him off!”
Dr Sabah al-Mukhtar – UN Permanent Representative, Arab lawyers Union, said: “Sending foreign troops to spread democracy turns the concept upside down. HR abuses occur in every country, but Iraq has a unique situation. Maliki abuses all of the human rights of all of the people, all of the time. Iraq is also bottom of the transparency international list of corrupt states, behind even Somalia and Sudan. Why did the Americans liberate Iraq and then hand it over to the mullahs in Iran?
Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir – KRG Head of Department of Foreign Relations, said: “HR is not a privilege. It is a basic right. We care about HR because as Kurds we have a long experience of suffering. Our democracy is in its infancy. No-one can claim they are perfect. Respect for HR is what we care about in Kurdistan. We have a culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. This has led to prosperity for the people and an economic boom. Diversity is the source of our strength. We have also provided shelter for IDPs and refugees. The KRG also focused on women and children to address issues that empower and protect them. Women must be part of society and properly protected in all walks of life. Unlike the federal government in Baghdad, we have always welcomed UN HR reports. As Kurds we will not accept the status of 2nd class citizens. We’d like to see all of Iraq become like Kurdistan.”
Kamel Zozo, representing the Syriac Assyrian Chaldean Movement said: “Iraq is a country for all of us. As Christians we’ve been there since the creation of Iraq. Now we are filled with bitterness and sadness when we see what has happened to the ethnic minorities. The system of government in Iraq is now a despotic one. Christians are doomed to extinction. This is the land of our fathers and forefathers and yet we are being driven from it. We must enact necessary laws to give us protection. Plans to change the demography of Nineveh and other regions are directly targeting the Christian community. We are being pushed into an unknown future. Can I request that EP pays attention to the minorities in Iraq.”
Elisabetta Zamparutti – Italian politician in the Radical Movement and Treasurer of “Hands off Cain” NGO, said: “Executions began again after a suspension in August 2005. Over 600 people have been executed since then, 117 last year alone. Iraq is now 3rd behind China and Iran for the number of executions it carries out. There are wooden gallows working overtime in the old intelligence HQ building in Baghdad, where Saddam was hanged. No records of these executions are kept. The justice system in Iraq is broken. Those executed are not represented properly. Evidence taken from secret informants cannot be challenged in court. We need to reflect on the situation in Iraq today.”
Tags: Iraqi nationalism, iraqi sectarianism
A Critical Look At Iraqi Nationalism and Sectarianism, An Interview With Author Harith Hasan
|World War I led to the creation of new countries like Iraq in the Middle East by the European Powers (World-ology)|
Tags: Displaced Iraqis
More hardship, displacement as fighting continues in Iraq’s Anbar province – UN
UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming.
11 February 2014 – The United Nations said today that it is receiving more reports of civilian casualties and further displacement within Iraq as the conflict in Anbar province continues.
Over the last six weeks up to 300,000 Iraqis – some 50,000 families – have been displaced due to insecurity around Fallujah and Ramadi in the province, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported.
The Iraqi Government estimates that it will initially need $35 million to address humanitarian needs caused by the Anbar crisis, which began at the end of 2013, including providing food, bedding and other supplies.
UNHCR field staff report that displaced Iraqis are residing in schools, mosques and other public buildings and urgently need various humanitarian items. Pregnant women and children need medical care while all families are in need of drinking water, milk and other food aid, diapers, beds and cooking items.
“Most of the displaced have fled to outlying communities in Anbar province to escape the fighting while 60,000 persons have fled to more distant provinces,” UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Flemingtold reporters in Geneva.
In a relief operation coordinated by the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) to support the Government’s response, UNHCR has distributed more than 2,300 kits of core relief items and 175 tents in various locations across the country.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has so far distributed more than 1,250 hygiene kits and various water/sanitation supplies and plans to send more in the coming days, while UN’s partner aid organizations are also providing critically needed relief items.
“Access and roadblocks remain a challenge,” Ms. Fleming said, noting that a consignment of World Health Organization (WHO) medical supplies has reportedly been detained at an Iraqi Army checkpoint since 30 January. “Many bridges leading into the Anbar region have been destroyed and roads are blocked, complicating deliveries to communities hosting IDPs [internally displaced persons],” she said.
UNHCR added that the 300,000 new IDPs are on top of Iraq’s population of more than 1.1 million displaced persons, who have still not returned to communities wracked by violence mainly during the 2006-2008 upheaval.