December 2, 2011

Landmark Turkmen Hearing at European Parliament

UNPO in coordination with the office of Metin Kazak MEP have organized the first hearing which will focus on the debilitating abuses facing this subjugated community including kidnappings, assassinations, and questions over the management of Kirkuk’s natural resource wealth.

Below is a press release issued by the Office of Metin Kazak MEP and UNPO:

 At the initiative of Mr Metin Kazak MEP, Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, the European Parliament will convene the first hearing to examine the human rights situation of Turkmen communities in Iraq when the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights meets on 5 December 2011 at 15h30.  The hearing comes amid the withdrawal of American combat forces from Iraq, continued debate over the long-delayed implementation of Article 140 of Iraq’s Constitution, and the ongoing targeted assassination, discrimination and marginalization of Turkmen in Kirkuk and throughout Iraq.

 Caught in the midst of disputes between Iraq’s communities, the Turkmen of Kirkuk live atop the vast oil wealth of Kirkuk that makes resolution of the disputed territory politically contentious but also key to the economic development of Iraq as a whole.  Overlooked but caught up in the instability and insecurity of Kirkuk and other Turkmen areas are questions of reparations for dispossessed Turkmen, kidnapping of civilians and minors for ransom – all of which has contributed to a debilitating brain-drain of Turkmen from Iraq that is undermining the country’s recovery and historic cultural heterogeneity.

 Mr Kazak noted his belief that “a constructive discussion is urgently needed, both to deepen understanding and to raise the level of debate so that new policies and new thinking can meet the challenges facing Iraqi Turkmen.”  The hearing will complement the EU’s growing interest and capacity in Iraq, something Mr Busdachin, General Secretary of the UNPO, believed “builds upon a cross-party interest – our past conferences on Kirkuk, Article 140, and the situation of Iraq’s communities have proved this, and for the Subcommittee to take this further is incredibly valuable at this time.”

 The hearing will include perspectives from Professor Stefan Wolff (University of Birmingham), Mr Hasan Özmen (Member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives), Professor Ibrahim Sirkeci (Regent’s College), and the European External Action Service, before closing remarks by Ms Barbara Lochbihler, Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights.  The hearing is organised by the Office of Mr Metin Kazak MEP and the Secretariat of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, with the collaboration of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization and supported by Iraqi Turkmen organizations from the European Union and Iraq.

 

This press release is issued by the Office of Metin Kazak MEP

and the

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization

 

For more information on the situation facing the Iraqi Turkmen, please contact the

 

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization

 

Avenue Louise 52 | Brussels | B-1050 | Belgium

 

Telephone: +32 (0) 251 31459 | Fax: +32 (0) 251 31495 | Email: unpo.brussels@unpo.org