Socialist Action stands firmly in solidarity with Kurdistan workers who are demonstrating en masse for payment of long-delayed wages, for freedom of political prisoners, for an end to vicious repression, and for dissolution of the corrupt Kurdistan Regional Government.
In recent days, tens of thousands of people in Sulaimaniyah and Halabja provinces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq filled the streets to demand the dissolution of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) due to 26 years reckless, corrupt, and authoritarian practices. KRG security forces responded to the protests by arresting demonstrators and journalists, seizing TV stations, including the independently-owned NRT, and firing into the crowds of unarmed protestors with heavy weapons supplied to KRG forces by the Global Coalition Against Daesh. The Canadian state is a participant in the GCAD. The number of reported deaths has reached 20, and injuries at least 70. Those numbers will rise as the massacre of demonstrators continues. The use of violence against innocent civilians is a grave violation of human rights. It is incumbent on Ottawa and its Coalition partners in Iraq to take immediate action to prevent additional injuries and deaths. The dominant parties in the KRG, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), have ruled the Kurdistan Region as a private fiefdom for 26 years. Since 2003, the United States has supplied the militias commanded by these two parties with weapons, training, and financial support. The Canadian Ministry of Defense and the Liberal government looked the other way as partisan militias shuttered the Region’s democratic institutions and party elites enriched themselves — while failing to provide citizens with basic services like water and electricity. The KDP and the PUK squandered the Region’s budget through their corruption and mismanagement, and failed to pay the salaries of 1.4 million public service workers and retirees –over 75% of the KRG’s population– causing deep and widespread poverty. Journalists and activists who expressed dissatisfaction with the reckless abuses of power, were harassed, kidnapped, tortured, and killed. The ruling parties relied on external support to sustain their “legitimacy”.
As a result, Canada is directly responsible for the corruption, the private accumulation of power, wealth, and weapons which they now use against their own people.
We call on the Government of Canada to demand that the KDP and PUK:
- Immediately cease attacks on civilians;
- End military operations in the cities of the Kurdistan Region;
- Release political prisoners and detainees;
- Re-open the NRT TV station in Sulaimaniyah.
We urge the organizations of the working class across the Canadian state to demonstrate solidarity with the mass protests and just demands of our sisters and brothers in Kurdistan.
Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste
Photo Credits: Reuters/Stringer