Report and Speeches
Congress of Referendum for Independent Iraqi Kurdistan voted with support of thousand people
For demand of:
Referendum Prior to Election and
Holding Referendum for independence of Kurdistan, Yes or No?
Referendum Campaign for Independence of Kurdistan in cooperation with Higher Committee of Referendum -Europe Branch organized the conference on 5th December 2004 at 11.30 AM – 5.00 PM in both English and Kurdish language.
The conference administrated by Gona Saed , Shirwan and Dashti Jamal .
The Opening congress word was represent by Aso Kamal* in charge of Referendum Campaign for independence of Kurdistan. He started with warmly welcome all of audients and thanks them for attending the conference. He added “I hope that our conference today will be as to the expectations of thousands of Kurdish people in Iraq who are looking forward to this. By participating today and sending support messages to this conference you will raise the unheard voice of Iraqi Kurds for independence and freedom and enable their voice to be heard in the world.”
Aso Kamal mentioned for the conference concern issue and he said” Today while all the nationalist and Islamic forces in Iraq with support from America want to drag Kurdish people in Iraq under the name of election without their will and put them back under the control of the central government in Iraq, this conference is the place and the voice and the hope of Iraqi Kurds to oppose this abuse and violations of their rights for self determination.”.” This conference will be the trigger to raise that voice, we will forward this demand of Kurdish people’s rights to the international community and decide on: A referendum for Kurdish people before the elections in Iraq to say if they want separation or not.”
At the end he called for “all participants in this conference to support this demand of Kurdish people, in the mean time I call the Swedish and British green parties who kindly participated in this conference today to take An active part in establishing our abroad committee to gain as much as we can International support for this right of Kurdish people worlds wide.”
The second speaker was Lena Kleavenace in charge of foreign affairs of Green Party-Sweden. After she thanks for invitation, she said” I represent the Green Party of Sweden and on behalf of my party I wish you all great success with this conference and with the campaign.”.” The Swedish Green Party supports full heartedly a UN sanctioned referendum in the Southern Kurdistan, and in all other parts of Kurdistan. We think that the peoples of Kurdistan should have the same right as peoples all over the world to decide over their own future. We have this position because people have a right to self-determination and this is a fundamental basement in the green world view. If the Kurdish peoples will can be realized through a federation or the through its own independent state it is up to the Kurdish people to decide.”
And she stressed as well on this point “It is extremely important that a free Kurdistan will be a state where it is good for everybody to live and where human rights are fully respected.”
The list of the other speaker is as below:
– Saber Kokayee: in charge of Higher Committee of Referendum-Europe branch.
– Muhsin Karim Representative of Worker Communist Party of Iraq.
– Fateh Shekh: Politician from Iranian Kurdistan.
– Dr. Rebwar Fatah: director of Kurdish Media.
– Dr. Jawad Mala: President of Kurdistan National Congress.
– Brief of speech for Professor Michael Gonter from United States of America presented by David Morgan.
– Dashti Jamal: Federation of Iraqi Refugees.
The second part of conference was introducing many Messages from figures, representatives and hundreds of people who live in Kurdistran, EU countries, Australia , US and Canada.
At the end the conference vote for resolution and accepted by mass majority of attendance and announced on behalf of thousand people.
Congress of Referendum for Independent Iraqi Kurdistan
Resolution of Conference
We Want a Referendum Before the Election.
We want Referendum for Independent Kurdistan
We the residents of Iraqi Kurdistan have the right to organize a referendum before the forthcoming elections in Iraq to decide whether we want independence or to stay within Iraq. We do not want to jeopardize our right to determine our destiny by participating in the Iraqi parliamentary and presidential elections and thus to be forced to stay under the rule of the central Iraqi government without having a say.
Therefore, today we express our support for a referendum for Iraqi Kurdistan and call on all residents of Iraqi Kurdistan to demand a referendum before the elections.
We call upon all political and mass organizations in Kurdistan and all organizations, parliamentarians and personalities worldwide to support this right for the people of Kurdistan.
Please also see the attached file for the details of the conference and the participants
On the demand for:
Referendum Prior to Election and
Holding Referendum for independence of Kurdistan,
Yes or No?
*Aso Kamal speech
Opening congress word
In the name of the campaign of Independent Kurdistan, I would like to warmly welcome all of you and thank you for attending this conference.
I hope that our conference today will be as to the expectations of thousands of Kurdish people in Iraq who are looking forward to this. By participating today and sending support messages to this conference you will raise the unheard voice of Iraqi Kurds for independence and freedom and enable their voice to be heard in the world.
Today while all the nationalist and Islamic forces in Iraq with support from America want to drag Kurdish people in Iraq under the name of election without their will and put them back under the control of the central government in Iraq, this conference is the place and the voice and the hope of Iraqi Kurds to oppose this abuse and violations of their rights for self determination.
We as the Kurdish people in Iraq believe that it is our right to have a referendum in Kurdistan before the election in Iraq, we need the world to hear our voice about what do those 4 million people really want for their future. Unfortunately this very basic and democratic right has not been recognised for Kurdish people in Iraq.
In the first conference for referendum campaign for independent Kurdistan on 2001, Lota Hedestrom from Swedish Green Party said: the outside world doesn’t know what dose Kurdish people in Iraq actually want??? We know what PUK and KDP want which is Federalism by any means but we haven’t heard what people want. Unfortunately now after 3 years and after the most historic opportunity in Iraq ( the collapse of Bath government still this right is not allowed for Kurdish people to have their say about their own future in a referendum, do they want to stay with Iraq or do they want a separate state.?????
After 13 years of been practically independent from Iraq and after loosing all this years of opportunity to demand the recognition of their right for independency today the ruling powers in Iraq still want to take people back to under the control of a central government through singing and participating in what is called election.
If this would happen Kurdish people in Iraq would loose the greatest chance to implement their right for independency again and the people will be grabbed to something they don’t want and don’t have a say in it.
Especially that the experience of the past one a and a half year after the collapse of Sad am Hussein regime has proved the nature of the ruling forces in Iraq who established the interim government and who are the main forces which will establish the government in Iraq after the election consisting of Sheea Muslim movements presented by Al Sestani and his allies, the fascist Arabic Nationalist parties presented by Al Yawar and Alawi and the main two Kurdish parties who have a long history of ignoring the real needs of Kurdish people and been after their own share of the power and backing all the ante human policies of America.
These forces mentioned above even before they come to power and get legitimised through an election they started to issue fatwa’s against the rights of Kurdish people and object any radical changes to implement the basic human rights of Kurdish people such as:
- The threats that Al Sestani sent to Security Council during the recognition of the interim Iraqi constitution to have any thing about Kurdish Issue in Iraq.
- Just recently the threats by Gazi Al yawar for those who talk ABOUT THE Referendum And separation of Kurdistan in the media, he said in words that any one who talk about the separation of Kurdistan is a betrayer and an enemy and they will fight them.
As for America as the main decision maker for Iraq it is very clear that
- They are objecting any improvements about the Kurdish people rights for independency.
- Evidences from the Security Council resolution 1546 and the last meeting in Sharam Al shaik proves that it is not of any concern of America to protect Kurdish people’s rights of self determination or even the fake federalism that they promised to PUK and KDP.
- The agreements and promises which is going on with Turkey and Syria to not recognise any kind of self control of Kurdish people.
All these are clear evidence that any promise which was made by America for Kurdish people are only ink on papers and will go to shelves no more.
Therefore the only solution today is to raise that voice for Kurdish people and that wish which is not federalism but the right to a referendum for independency.
This conference will be the trigger to raise that voice, we will forward this demand of Kurdish people’s rights to the international community and decide on: A referendum for Kurdish people before the elections in Iraq to say if they want separation or not.
To make this voice heard and effective we need to work in Iraq amongst the people who are in need and on an International l bases.
I call upon all participants in this conference to support this demand of Kurdish people, in the mean time I call the Swedish and British green parties who kindly participated in this conference today to take An active part in establishing our abroad committee to gain as much as we can International support for this right of Kurdish people worlds wide.
Thank you very much
Lena Klevenas Speech, Green Party Sweden.
Referendum as a democratic alternative
Referendum campaign for Independence of Kurdistan
Thank you for the invitation to come and speak at your conference and participate in your campaign for a referendum for independence for Kurdistan.
I represent the Green Party of Sweden and on behalf of my party I wish you all great success with this conference and with the campaign.
Let my start by telling you about Sweden. How it happened that we lost about one third of our territory because one big part wanted to be an independent and free state.
Sweden was hundred years ago a much bigger country than it is today. In 1814 we had won Norway from Denmark and Sweden-Norway was united in a union with a common king. But Norway didn’t want to be a part of Sweden. They felt special, with their own language and their own culture. So the Norwegians immediately started to fight for independence. It took them 91 years. The struggled was completed with a referendum where 99 % of the Norwegians wanted to separate from Sweden. In 1905 Norway was established as a free and independent country.
I have learnt by reading that the Kurdish people was promised to establish an independent state in 1920. It is a promise which is not yet fulfilled. It is 84 years ago. If your fight will be no longer than the Norwegians you have 7 years left. I hope your independence will come in that period of 7 years.
During the last 50 years more than 100 new states have been founded. That means
two new states every year. More and more peoples have liberated themselves
from colonialism, occupation and submission. In every new decade more
states are born in spite of the argument that it would be impossible to do so.
The reason why new states are born is because more peoples demand their
national and democratic rights. The driving force behind the establishment of these new states has been the right to decide about their own future.
For example, the Algerians wanted a free Algeria instead of being a French colony.
The Baltic states wanted to have the right to decide about their future for themselves.
They refused to be dominated by Russia.
The East Timorese people expressed their view through a national referendum that
they did not want to belong to Indonesia, and instead wanted to create a
new state. After a long struggle they eventually reached their goal.
These peoples demand for independence and national sovereignty has been
legitimate and was even supported by the UN Charter and international
law. Despite this many of the last half century’s new states have come true
through armed struggle and massive protest, and not through dialogue and peaceful understanding and agreements.
The main reason for this is that the respect for international law and human rights unfortunately is subordinated economic, strategic and nationalistic interests by the oppressors.
We the Swedish Greens have the opinion that the best democratic alternative in these kinds of conflicts is to have a UN sanctioned referendum. By asking the people you can get the answer of how they want to create their future and what kind of government they want to have. By a referendum you can find out the will of the people.
However, before organizing the referendum it is important to define and make clear certain aspects.
Talking about Southern Kurdistan I have learnt that your proposal is that only the 4-5 million people who live in the Southern Kurdistan will have the right to vote. Then you have to specifically declare that everybody that now lives in the southern Kurdistan is welcome to do so even in the future.
Another important aspect that needs to be made clear before a referendum is the issue that all the alternatives must be crystal clear and easy to interpret. If you have too many alternatives and alternatives that are difficult to interpret it may undermine the goal of the referendum.
A third aspect is that the political actors in the region or country must declare before the referendum declares that they will honour the outcome of the referendum what ever it may be.
Even if the outcome of a referendum ought to be binding for the political parties one can not always be sure of that. Therefore, it is important to receive their pledges before the referendum is held.
A forth aspect is that the international community must clearly be involved in the referendum. It can contribute know-how and international experience, as well as sending election observers and help establish a dialogue between the involved political parties. I can not stress this last part enough, because the international community can act as means of pressure to make sure that the outcome of the referendum will be honoured.
We are fully aware of that none of these questions I have mentioned is easy to agree upon,
but these issues must be clarified if it should be worthwhile to hold a referendum. Therefore, it is extremely important that the Kurdish political parties in the Southern Kurdistan work actively to solve these issues. A heavy responsibility rests upon the two large Kurdish political parties PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) and KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) to work for and prepare the grounds for the idea of a UN sanctioned referendum. By not doing so of tactical reasons might be a mistake. It is necessary to speak openly of a referendum as a democratic alternative even though it might upset neighbouring countries or nationalistic or religious parties.
The Swedish Green Party supports full heartedly a UN sanctioned referendum in the Southern Kurdistan, and in all other parts of Kurdistan. We think that the peoples of Kurdistan should have the same right as peoples all over the world to decide over their own future. We have this position because people have a right to self-determination and this is a fundamental basement in the green world view. If the Kurdish peoples will can be realized through a federation or the through its own independent state it is up to the Kurdish people to decide.
But it is extremely important that a free Kurdistan will be a state where it is good for everybody to live and where human rights are fully respected.
We are defenitely of the opinion that democratic people from all over the world should adjudge the people of Kurdistan the same right as they themselves want to enjoy; the right to form its own future, the right to self governance and the right to sovereignty.
Because of this reason we have supported the struggle of the people of Kurdistan for democracy, peace, human rights and national sovereignty. Through articles, conferences, resolutions in the Swedish parliament , manifestations etc., we have tried to voice our support.
Our hopes are that more political parties, organisations and people all over the world will support this struggle.
Finally: Let me remind you again of Sweden and Norway. Sweden was hundred years ago a much bigger country than it is today because Norway belonged to us. But Norway didn’t want to be a part of Sweden so they struggled for independence. It took 91 years but finally in 1905 Norway was established as a free and independent country. I hope that your struggle will come to the same result after 91 years and that you have just 7 years left. A referendum is a necessary part of a process leading to the fulfilment of the promises to the Kurdish people. We the Swedish Greens support your struggle and request all democratic parties all over the world to do the same.
Brief of speech for Professor Michael Gonter from United States of America presented by David Morgan.
FEDERALISM AND THE KURDS:
THE SOLUTION OR THE PROBLEM?*
Michael M. Gunter
Tennessee Technological University
On March 19, 2003, the United States finally launched a war against Iraq, which quickly drove Saddam Hussein from power. Winning the peace, however, has proven much more difficult than winning the war. An artificial state cobbled together by British imperialism following World War I, Iraq may well prove to be a failed state. The interim constitution—known as the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL)—promulgated on March 8, 2004 for a democratic federal Iraq has proven to be stillborn given the majority Shiites insistence on what they see as their right to unfettered majority rule. Thus, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546 of June 8, 2004, which authorized Iraq’s new interim government, failed even to mention the TAL and federalism as a solution for the Iraqi Kurdish problem. Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the de facto Shiite leader and spokesman, in general felt that the TAL should not tie the hands of the Iraqi parliament to be elected in January 2005 and specifically objected to Article 61(c) in the TAL which gave the Kurds an effective veto over the final constitution which is to be adopted late in 2005.
Many Arabs consider the Kurds traitors for having supported the United States in the 2003 War. On the other hand, many Kurds see the Arabs as chauvinistic nationalists who oppose Kurdish rights because they would end up detaching territory from the Arab patrimony. The future of Iraq, moreover, has become even more uncertain given the growing insurgency against the interim Iraqi government and its U.S. ally.
WILL FEDERALISM WORK?
In considering the possibilities of federalism for the Iraqi Kurds, Kurdish divisions, most noticeably between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) have up to now been glossed over with the easy assumption that the two will somehow end their longtime struggle against each other and join forces to create a Kurdistan federal state. A close study of history and the current situation, however, might quickly disabuse one of such notions. Indeed, their inveterate competition and disunity spilled over into a bloody civil war during the mid-1990s and many underlying divisions still remain. Serendipitously, “the divided system which emerged in the summer of 1996 allowed the KDP and PUK to govern the region without the problems of internal competition, and without antagonising the neighbours.” Might some type of federalism that gave separate institutional recognition to these two separate Kurdish statelets within an independent Kurdistan be the ironic answer to their disunity?
Tentative conclusion. Based on the above analysis, it would be very difficult for the Kurds to obtain the type of federalism that will satisfy their demands. Moreover, even if the Kurds were able to achieve some type of meaningful federalism in theory in the final version of the new constitution, Iraq’s lack of a democratic culture would make actual federalism very difficult to implement.
If, for any of the reasons analyzed above, a federal Iraq proves impossible to construct, why not an independent Kurdish state? What would be so sacred about the territorial integrity of a failed state like Iraq that was becoming increasingly unstable? Indeed, within the past decade, both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia broke up into numerous new states. Earlier, Singapore split off from Malaysia, Bangladesh from Pakistan, and, more recently, Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia and East Timor from Indonesia. The United Nations also has in the past officially approved self-determination for the Palestinians and black South African majority.
Why do the Arabs so rightfully demand a state for the Palestinians, but so hypocritically deny one for the Kurds? Why do the Turks demand self-determination for the Turkish Cypriots, but so hypocritically deny the same for the Kurds? It is not logical; it is not fair, and until there is real justice for the Kurds, we will have this great instability in the Middle East.
The Iraqi Kurds, however, would be well advised to proceed with the consent of the United States, Turkey, and the other involved regional neighbors because without their consent an independent Iraqi Kurdistan would prove impossible to sustain for obvious geopolitical reasons. The first step to achieve this seemingly impossible task is for the Iraqi Kurds to be seen giving their all in trying to make a democratic federal Iraq work. If such an Iraq proves impossible to achieve, the Iraqi Kurds then will be seen as having the right, in the name of stability that also will benefit the United States and neighboring states, to move towards independence.
At that point, the Iraqi Kurds must convince these other states that in return for their support for Iraqi Kurdish independence, an independent Iraqi Kurdistan would not foment rebellion among the Kurds in neighboring states either directly or indirectly. These states’ guarantee of an independent Iraqi Kurdish state would be a powerful incentive for the Iraqi Kurds to satisfy them on this point. Furthermore, the Iraqi Kurds must proceed in a manner that their neighbors including the Iraqi Arabs would perceive to be fair to them. This will probably mean compromise on the Kurdish demand for oil-rich Kirkuk as the capital of Kurdistan.