Jun 26, 2012

DISRUPTED LIVES - Children of Sunnah village speak out





The CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team formally released their new video, made in collaboration with the teachers and children of Sunnah village in the Pshdar district.  Readers of this blog may find some of the stories and photos in the video familiar; the people of Sunnah helped us by providing information for our new report, released earlier this month.  Almost all of the filming in this video was done by the teachers at Sunnah school. CPTers provided the still shots, and worked together to edit the footage, translate the children's words for English subtitles, and compile it all into the above video.  Although this is not our first video (see our YouTube page for more), it is easily our longest, and the editing process proved to be far more of a challenge than acquiring the content.

We encourage you to share this video, and help us amplify the voices of the children from Sunnah village.

Jun 10, 2012

A Visit to the Iranian Consulate


 A Visit to the Iranian Consulate

CPT accepted an invitation to visit the Iranian Consulate in Sulaimani on 22 May, bringing with them the report “Disrupted Lives: the effects of cross-border attacks by Turkey and Iran on Kurdish villages.”  

The trip marked the first time since 2010 that CPT met with members of the Iranian Embassy in Iraqi Kurdistan, despite several previous attempts. This was the first time CPT met with representatives from the Consulate in Sulaimani. The primary purpose of the visit was to pass along the report, which contained the latest information CPT had gathered about the cross-border bombing and shelling of Iraqi Kurdistan villages.

Hamid Bodaghi, the First Consul of the Consulate in Sulaimani, was attentive during the meeting and seemed interested in the report and the work of CPT. “Any question, any ambiguity about Iran’s position, do not hesitate to contact us,” he said.

When questioned about the need for shelling over the border, Bodaghi responded by saying that it was “natural and normal” for the Iranian government to desire the safety of its citizens, and that “every corner of the world” wanted this, as well.

When asked if the shelling of villages was the most effective way to combat the militia groups in these areas, Bodaghi insisted that the border guards are largely made up of locals, who are able to distinguish “between civilians, smugglers and terrorists. They know. They’re local!” -  suggesting that no mistakes occur and no civilians are harmed.

He also said that villagers receive warnings well in advance of potential shelling, so that they may remove themselves and their animals from the area to safety. This does not match, however, with the information CPT Iraqi Kurdistan has gathered in regards to the cross boarder attacks by Turkey and Iran. Warnings directly from Iran do not precede attacks.

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CPT Iraqi Kurdistan does not condone the violence perpetrated by Turkey and Iran against the Kurdish people.

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan does not condone the sanctions against Iran emplaced by the U.N, that collectively punish the Iranian and Kurdish People of Iran.

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan does not condone the calls for “military action” against Iran.

Jun 7, 2012

"Disrupted Lives" - a new CPT report on cross-border attacks

Last Thursday, the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team held a press conference at Sulaimani's Culture Cafe to formally release their latest report, "Disrupted Lives: the effects of cross-border attacks by Turkey and Iran on Kurdish villages." The report, available in .pdfs in both English and Kurdish, highlights how Turkey and Iran's attempts to combat the guerilla fighters along their borders often results in devastating consequences for Kurdish villages, from property damage to loss of life. In compiling the report, the team also paid attention to the psychological effects the annual bombing and shelling campaigns have on the villagers, who are civilians and, and whose only involvement in the conflict between the guerilla groups and the Turkish and Iranian governments is living in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Left to right: Bapir, Mohamed, Lukasz, and Carrie. On the table are photographs of shelling damage and displaced villagers, taken last year. Also on the table are exploded ordinances collected after attacks last year.


CPTers Carrie and Lukasz presented the report, while CPT partner Mohamed acted as translator, and village leader Bapir spoke on behalf of over 20 different villages in his home region of Pshdar. Bapir urged those present not to forget Qandil, a mountainous region of Kurdistan. He warned that damaging the mountains and mountain villages threatens an integral part of Kurdish identity, and called on the Kurdish Regional Government to seek a solution.

Representatives from about eight different media outlets were present at the press conference; several asked questions about how CPT planned to follow up the report's release, and what could be done to ensure the cross-border attacks do not start again. CPTers stressed the need for cooperation between villagers, local and international organizations, and media in order to bring the government’s attention to the villagers’ needs, and eventually an end to the attacks.

A summary of "Disrupted Lives" is copied under the jump below, but we strongly suggest that you take the time to read the report itself.