Letter to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

José Manuel Barroso, President

The European Commission

1049 Brussels, Belgium

June 23, 2009

Honorable Jose Barroso,

The Kurdish people, along with their leadership, participated in every way that they could to facilitate the process of liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s despotic regime.  They joined with the US led allied forces.  Their blood was mixed with the blood of Allied soldiers to return freedom to Iraq.  They remained loyal and worked hard to ensure that the policies of the Allied forces were successful in Iraq. 

Despite the removal of the Ba’athist government, violations of human and property rights which were a systematic program of abuse against the Kurds for more than 30 years have not been rectified. Under Saddam Hussein’s regime, Arabization in Kurdistan-Iraq had intensified to the extent that the demography of Kurdistan was profoundly changed in many places which was caused by internally displacing Kurds and importing Arabs from other parts of Iraq to the region and rewarding them by allowing them to take possession of Kurdish lands, properties and houses.  This was especially true in Kirkuk, Shaykhan, Shangal, and Khanaqeen.

After the liberation of Iraq, the Kurds were hoping that, upon forming a functional democratic government under the new constitution, Kurdistan would be normalized and the sequestered areas would return to Kurdistan.  The Kurds have heard many promises from more than one post-Saddam Iraqi government but none of the promises were carried out. All the laws that were enacted under the regime of Saddam Hussein to change the demography of Kurdistan and deprive Kurdish property rights or redistricting in favor of the Arab population are, in fact, still in place.

Under the Iraqi government of Nouri Maliki, no step has been taken toward implementing the constitution which allowed a federal system.  Indeed, this current Iraqi government has been making more moves to centralize power rather than establish a system of federalism.  Prime Minister Maliki has been quoted as stating that the constitution endorsing federalism was adopted only by “hearsay” and that this model of constitution (which, in fact, more than 80 percent of Iraqi people voted to support), needs to be changed.  Most troubling is that his behavior of acting against the will of the Iraqi people who voted for the democratic constitution and by recentralizing power in Baghdad contradicts every democratic principle. If Mr. Maliki succeeds, he could take Iraq back to the days of undemocratic rule, and would demonstrate the same political culture that brought Iraq to its knees.  His behavior tells the story – if he continues with his policies to centralize power in Baghdad, this nascent democracy of Iraq will die in its infancy.

We urge you to get involved and encourage Mr. Maliki and his government to honor the constitution and implement its democratic and federalist principles where all Iraqis regardless of ethnic or sectarian background will live in harmony and where all are allowed to contribute to the process of strengthening human rights.  We believe that it is in the interest of a peaceful Europe and, to a larger extent the world, to ensure that Iraq will not face another political quagmire through a “dictatorship of the majority.”  The Kurds have suffered much over many decades and deserve more of active European political support to make sure that their rights are no longer violated.

Sincerely yours,

Kirmanj Gundi


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