ASIA/IRAQ - Kurdistan in difficulty: After the vote for independence, people are fleeing

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 politics   international politics   justice   religious minorities   ethnic minorities   independence   wars  

Kirkuk (Agenzia Fides) - "The situation is constantly evolving. Baghdad is putting into practice what the Iraqi Parliament, already in the first hours after the Referendum on independence on September 25, had established: salaries removed to all public employees who participated in the vote; all the work of all companies working in the area have been stopped; dismissal of the President of the Republic of Kurdistan and the assignment of Al Maliki in his place; closure of borders between Iraq and Kurdistan; the sending of military forces to the contending area. On the other hand both Turkey and Iran do not view the proclamation of independence of Kurdistan highly, because they fear outbreaks of separatist Kurds in their territory": is what Mustafa Jabbar coordinator for Kurdistan of the cooperation network Focsiv (Federation of Christian Organizations of Voluntary International Service) says in a note sent to Agenzia Fides.
"The real problems - Jabbar says - are: oil, natural gas, product trade and military presence.
It is highly possible that there will be an economic embargo if Kurdistan does not give up independence, such as that carried out by Saddam in the '90s. If this were to happen, the local population, already exhausted by three years of fratricidal war, would starve to death. The Kurds ask to initiate a table for dialogue with Baghdad, but for the time being Iraqis are not willing to talk to the Kurdish authorities".
Meanwhile, Focsiv network has distributed 350 food parcels to the new displaced people in Hawija, who escaped because of the Iraqi army offensive for the city's reconquest. As Fides learns, people arrived in the town of Dibs, about 30km west of Kirkuk. "We have closed almost all of our activities in Erbil. The displaced people, who are hosted in the camp in this city, are returning to their homes, on the Nineveh Plain, in Qaraqosh, Bartella, Caramles, Basciqa, etc. The fear is that shortly the transfer will be impossible. We are supporting this return even with projects to return to normality, to help the population resume a job and to have a house again".
For three years now, Focsiv network has been working alongside the displaced people in the refugee camps of Erbil, in the village of Dibaga and Kirkuk. The work of volunteers is directed, after having provided the basic necessities, especially to children: a kindergarten was set up for young children, so that mothers could work or attend sewing classes; sporting activities have started for older children so that they are also busy after school. Focsiv takes care, above all, of the most vulnerable of women with infants, who are often given milk powder. Particular attention, explains the note sent to Fides, is reserved for people with disabilities, with specific medical care. In addition to this there is also the distribution of food, objects for cooking and clothing, especially winter ones, as the winter in this area is very rigid and long. Finally, training courses are organized in English and Kurdish.
Focsiv's intervention is part of the campaign "Humanity. Being human with human beings". With other civil society organizations present in the Middle East, Focsiv actively promotes armed conflict resolution to establish inclusive dialogue based on respect for human dignity and to support the countries and people affected by the drama of war, especially refugees . (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 10/10/2017)