The rights violations by the Regional Kurdistan Government and the Turkish state’s invasion attacks against Southern Kurdistan were handled in a panel discussion in the Swedish Parliament.
The panel discussion was hosted and moderated by Left Party MP Amineh Kakabaveh and Social Democratic Workers’ Party MP and Parliamentary Foreign Relations Commission Member Anders Osterberg, Liberal Party MP and Parliamentary Defense Commission Member Maria Nilsson, Amnesty International official Maja Aberg, Southern Kurdistan journalist Sherwan Sherwani and Southern Kurdistan women’s activist Tara Huseyin attended the panel as speakers.
KAKABAVEH: TURKEY KILLS, NOBODY SPEAKS ABOUT IT
Kakabaveh said that in the Middle East, the Kurds resist not just ISIS gangs but also pressure and attacks by Turkey, Syria and the Iranian regime as well.
Kakabaveh pointed out that Turkey has launched extensive operations against Southern Kurdistan in the last 10 days and has been bombing civilian residential areas. Kakabaveh said, “Hundreds of villages were destroyed, thousands of civilians are leaving their lands. Turkey bombs, kills and forces people to live as refugees in their own country. But nobody talks about this,” and protested the silence of the outside world.
Kakabaveh criticized the Regional Kurdistan Government for not taking a stand against the Turkish state’s invasion attempts and pointed out that the developments in Southern Kurdistan for democracy and human rights are not good, and that journalists and women’s rights/human rights activists are under severe pressure.
SHERWANI: PEOPLE OF SOUTHERN KURDISTAN ARE UNDER PRESSURE
Journalist Sherwan Sherwani said the people of Southern Kurdistan face threats and pressure from Iraq, Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government, and that many of the people have been forced to leave their lands due to the pressures.
Sherwani said Iraq and Turkey want to change the demographic makeup of Southern Kurdistan and added: “But we see that the outside world is silent in the face of all these developments,” criticizing the West for their disinterest in attacks against Kurds.
Sherwani said the journalists, activists and human rights defenders in Southern Kurdistan who think differently are facing severe pressures, and that they are being arrested and murdered. Sherwani gave some examples.
“SADDAM REGIME BANS ARE STILL IN PLACE”
Sherwani stressed that the criminal law the Saddam regime used against Kurds is still being utilized against activists and the opposition by the Kurdistan Regional Government today, and added that he himself was imprisoned for opposition to the Article 156 of the Penal Code.
Sherwani said the Turkish state has launched an extensive invasion operation against Southern Kurdistan and called on Sweden and the European Union to take a stand against Turkey’s invasion attempt and bombings.
HUSEYIN: VIOLATIONS IN SOUTHERN KURDISTAN ARE BEING COVERED UP
Activist Tara Huseyin said the media doesn’t reflect the truth of what’s happening in Southern Kurdistan and that the rights violations and pressures in the country is hidden from the outside world.
Huseyin pointed out that parts of Southern Kurdistan are occupied by the Turkish state now and other parts are under attack: “The Turkish state was backing the ISIS gangs before. As we speak, they continue their bombings. At least 45 civilians have lost their lives in these attacks. They are destroying history, nature, fields and animals. As this genocide continues, unfortunately the outside world is silent. I want Sweden to take a stand against these attacks.”
“TURKISH STATE IS BOMBING THE PEOPLE NOT THE PKK”
Huseyin said the Turkish state claims to be attacking the PKK but the PKK is not present in the areas they bomb, and added that the people have had to abandon their homes and lands to save their lives and as such there is a risk that ISIS gangs will settle in their abandoned homes. Huseyin said there is no gender equality in Southern Kurdistan and added that only 8% of the persons in justice mechanisms are female, and women’s representation in the parliament has been capped at 30%.
Huseyin continued to say: “Before ISIS came to Shengal, there was a culture of clans. Yazidi women couldn’t even go out to the markets to shop. When ISIS attacked to destroy the Yazidis, PKK and the YPG/YPJ forces defended them. Today the Yazidis have their own party, and Yazidi women have their own organizations and armed forces. They defend their own region.”
AMNESTY: ANTI-TERROR LAWS ARE BEING ABUSED
Amnesty International official Maja Aberg said they shine a spotlight on attacks against journalists and human rights activists and added that they object to anti-terror laws being abused to be utilized against opposition members.
LIBERAL PARTY: TURKEY IS USING ALL THEIR RESOURCES TO DESTROY THE KURDS
Liberal Party MP Maria Nilsson said the party supports the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government but they don’t approve of the human rights violations and violations of freedom of expression that the government has committed.
Nilsson said Turkey considers Kurds to be its number one enemy and that the country has been using all their resources to destroy the Kurds, adding that the Liberal Party’s Foreign Policy Spokesperson Fredrik Malm will take the Turkish state’s bombings and invasion attempts against Southern Kurdistan to the Parliament’s agenda.
Social Democratic Workers’ Party MP Anders Osterberg said they have criticized the Turkish state’s violations of human rights and freedom of expression several times and that they took the Afrin invasion to the United Nations agenda.
Osterberg said in Turkey, Armenians, Syriacs, Alevis and other peoples of diverse faiths and ethnicities are under pressure as well as the Kurds, and that they will continue to show solidarity with the HDP and the oppressed peoples.
Sherwani spoke after the other speeches and said the NGO and political party representatives in the panel discussion voicing the rights violations in Kurdistan is a positive thing and criticized them for not saying anything concrete to stop the occupation.