Dec 23, 2015

October - November 2015

Iraqi Kurdistan

Turkish warplanes intensify bombardments, farmers flee their village homes

As Turkey spirals into more intense internal violence, not shying away from bombarding even “its own” Turkish/Kurdish towns with artillery shells, its attacks against Kurds in Iraq also intensify. On the night of 21 November, Turkish warplanes bombed mountain slopes overlooking the Shawre valley. Shawre’s fertile soil sustains more than 30 villages and a larger town, as well as contains many treasures including sites dating to times far preceding Islam. The beautiful village of Gullan, that many CPT members, delegates and supporters know so well, lies in the upper parts of the valley, and dangerously near the bombarded sites. CPT visited the area on 26 November and met with three families who heard and saw the rockets hit meadows just over their village and fled their homes in fear of being hit in another attack. CPTers attempted to document one of the bombed places but were strongly advised by the armed forces not to go there as the warplanes could return at any moment. In the last two decades, Shawre has been considered as an area safe and free of Turkish airstrikes. During an overnight stay in Gullan, CPTers could hear the murmuring sounds of jet fighters flying around and towards the more distant Qandil mountains.
One of the displaced shepherds, who worked also as an assistant at a local school, told CPT: “A few days ago, Turkey shot down a Russian airplane for a supposed violation of their borders. Turkey shows how much they care about borders, by bombing us, more than 100km (60 miles) far away from their territory.”
CPT partners with civilian communities that face displacement and fear from Turkish attacks. To amplify their voices, CPT made a short video about the bombing of Zargely village (see below), in which 5 civilians died and 12 others were wounded. CPTers met with a displaced Zargely family in Warte, shared the video with them, and learned how deeply their children continue to struggle with the experience, especially hearing the jetfighters fly over their new homes nearly every day and night.
To read more of their story, visit our website or Facebook page.


Building bridges of peace: training community mediation

Marcus, an experienced trainer and practitioner of mediation from the UK, joined our team to run 3 six-days-long trainings of Community Mediation, in addition to other work with the team. First, he trained our CPT team of four. Then, he trained a group of 12 women displaced by war at the REACH community center for women in Bainjan. Participants of the third training were 14 staff members of STEP, who work to support children and youth displaced by war. 

One participant from Bainjan said: "I love this training. It is the best one I have ever done. A conflict came up in my family, and I used the techniques that we learned, and it worked." 

Teachers on strike in Sulaimani for salaries, thousands protest across Iraqi Kurdistan for President Barzani to go

Between 3rd and 20th of October hundreds of teachers in Sulaimani closed down schools to gather daily in front of the Sulaimani Directorate of Education and demand that the government pay their, and other civil servants', 3-months delayed salaries. After two weeks, the authorities answered to the teachers saying that they "received the message" and that it was "time to go back to schools". Those who wouldn't comply were threatened with dismissals or transfers to location away from the city, Eventually, the intimidations and armed security forces ended the peaceful protests, On 19th October, the security officers prevented journalists, media and also CPT from documenting their crackdown on a peaceful rally. 

Apart from the teacher's strike, which CPT observed, thousands of people took to the streets in protests throughout the Sulaimani governorate, demanding resolution to the Iraqi Kurdistan economic and political crises.

To share voices of CPT's partners and friends, and their anger and weariness with the situation, our team created a short video (below). It introduces and paints the context of what took place here and continues unresolved.   

To read more about the killings of five participants of the protests in Qaladize and Kalar, and to understand the events better, we also recommend reading this Human Rights Watch release

Reasons behind the October 2015 Protests throughout Iraqi Kurdistan, demanding political and economic changes.

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team launches newly revamped blog

All you might want to know about the current and past work and projects of our team is now ready to read at: 
Please give it a look or two :)
Connect with us to learn more about our work, and ways how to get involved
and partner with us...

Dec 14, 2015

A tale of Russian, Iranian and French presence in Iraqi Kurdistan, and how could you become a part of... it

From 2007-2013 Turkey and Iran bombed the Qandil Mountains in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq under the pretext of fighting the PKK. Since 2007, CPT documented cases of villagers and civilians forced into displacement, killed, injured and deeply affected by the bombs. They lost their crops, homes and communities. In 2015 the peace negotiations between Turkey and PKK fell apart and Turkey started to bomb again. CPT wants to provide presence in the affected communities and document their situation. We need your help.

How? Well, the story is very simple. In 2012 we decided to buy our own CPT car that allowed us to visit the villages more often. We decided to get a second hand car. So, “The white bear” a 12 years old Russian Volga – a classic in Kurdistan – joined the team. We had so much hope with the car but after some internal issues it broke down. The team was not able to go as far as we wanted in the mountains… As much as we loved it, we said good bye to “the white bear” .
New Hopes. In 2013 “the gem” a 6-year old white Iranian-French Peugeot car joined the team with lots of energy and enthusiasm. “The gem” helped us to go a little bit further, we reached the mountains! However, we do not know if this had to do with politics but “the gem” started to show symptoms of non-cooperation. It did not wanted to go as far as we needed and non-violently told us that this will be all. We decided through consensus to let “the gem” go in search of new horizons.

Following the Climate Change conference, we discussed about an environmental friendly way to reach the villages in the mountains, like in the old times..

We need a better equipped car for our work. The ideal (used) car for going to the mountains and visit the villages costs approximately US$ 10.000. Yes, your financial support for getting a new car will help us to visit the mountain communities more often. And to accompany them as they resist violence doing what they do best: farming, sharing and taking care of their mountains.  Donate for CPT's Iraqi Kurdistan car

Dec 12, 2015

The sound of the airplanes...

Shireen (see our post from 30 Nov) has two sons. They have trouble sleeping in the nights and they cry a lot, especially when they hear the warplanes flying over their town. Their house was bombed to rubbles and their grandma, three uncles and an aunt, died in a terrible bombing, a few months ago. 
The two boys left their home and live in their relatives' house. Nearly every day or night they can hear the thundery murmur of warplanes on their way to drop more bombs, perhaps on other children. They feel scared. Sometimes, the planes come during the school time. They leave their class shaking and the teachers need to comfort them...

Recently, Turkish warplanes expanded their attacks into areas outside of the Qandil mountains, which have been considered safe and free from the attacks.