UNPO Marks the 25th commemoration of the Halabja Massacre

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Kurds never forget the Halabaja MassacreUnrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization-UNPO March 2013 Newsletter

Dear UNPO Members and Friends,

Somalilandsun – This month marked the 25th commemoration of the Halabja Massacre, one of the most severe chemical attacks in world history, in which at least 5000 Kurdish people lost their lives.

A UNPO delegation took part in the commemoration events in Erbil.

To commemorate this event in Europe and to ignite discussion on the importance of the genocide recognition from the international community, UNPO organized a series of strategic events in both Belgium and The Netherlands.

In The Hague, UNPO held a conference next to the Dutch Parliament entitled “25th Anniversary of the Halabja Massacre: Recognition as a Tool to Prevent Genocide”, which provided a platform both to commemorate the victims of the attacks, as well as to discuss key issues regarding the recognition of the Kurdish Genocide. The same day, UNPO joined Kurdish organizations to launch a petition asking the Dutch government and the European Parliament to recognize the genocide committed against the Kurds. The petitions can be accessed here (for Dutch citizens only) and here. Meanwhile in Brussels, in addition to a series of diplomatic meetings of the Kurdish Regional Government at the European Parliament, UNPO convened a successful photo exhibition on the Kurdish Genocide in the European Parliament, at which Members of the European Parliament urged their colleagues to formally recognise the Kurdish genocide.

Besides the Iraqi Kurds, last month also brought new shifts for our Members in the People’s Republic of China, as Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang took office as President and Premier respectively in the middle of March. On this occasion the World Uyghur Congress collaborated with UNPO, the Society for Threatened People and the National Endowment for Democracy to hold a major international conference entitled “China’s New Leadership: Challenges for Human Rights, Democracy and Freedom in East Turkestan, Tibet and Southern Mongolia”. The conference brought together a wide range of experts from around the world to discuss the potential human rights implications of the upcoming change in Chinese leadership, and led to an action-based joint declaration by all the participants, to enhance respect for the human rights in China. In the days after the conference, Ms. Rebiya Kadeer held meetings with officials in Brussels, organised by UNPO.

This month has also most unfortunately justified its historical connotation referring to god of war and strife, Mars, to another Member, the Iraqi Turkmens. The escalating tensions in the country have contributed to the suffering of the Iraqi Turkmens, who have become targets of frequent violent attacks and forced disappearances. UNPO submitted information on these matters to United Nations Special Rapporteurs and lobbied for the adoption of the resolution, adopted by the European Parliament, which urges the Iraqi government to offer stronger protection to the Turkmen.

The plight of our Members in Iran, as well as of the Batwa in Rwanda and the Lezghins in Azerbaijan were highlighted by our CESCR submissions, where numerous cases of economic, cultural and linguistic disadvantages were highlighted, not to even mention frequent unfair arrests and detaining. A delegation of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran held meetings in the European Parliament to raise awareness of these issues.

We hope to see progress in the coming months with regard to the respect of our Members’ human rights and right to self-determination.

Sincerely,

Marino Busdachin

UNPO General Secretary

For more information on UNPO and members including Somaliland visit http://www.unpo.org/

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