Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH
Rt Hon Lisa Nandy MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Ref. Peace in Kurdistan Open Letter to the Foreign Secretary concerning Shengal (Sinjar)
Your office will be aware that on 9 October 2020 the government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government signed an agreement on the administration and security of the region of Shengal (Sinjar) in northern Iraq. This agreement was reached without consulting the people of Shengal or their secular and religious representatives. We consider this agreement to be a threat to inhabitants of Shengal, the mainly Yazidi people.
Commencing on 3 August 2014, Islamic State (IS) jihadists entered Shengal and in the name of a ‘forced conversion campaign’ slaughtered thousands of Yazidi people and abducted up to 10,800 women and children, selling them into slavery. Some half a million people were forced to become refugees and internal exiles. Even today, thousands of women and children are ‘disappeared’. Prior to this atrocity Shengal was under the control of units of the Iraqi army and Kurdistan Regional Government Peshmergas (KRG). These forces fled at the approach of the IS, leaving the people with almost no protection against the intended genocide. When the Yazidi population returned to Shengal, from 2017 onwards, after the IS had been driven from the area, they discovered mass graves containing the remains of their people. These people have now established self-defence units. They do not want a return of Iraqi government and the KRG who demand that the self-defence units be disbanded.
The 9 October agreement was brokered with Turkish and international mediation. The forced eviction of Shengal’s population, and of other Kurdish peoples living adjacent to the Turkish border is part of the Turkish government’s plan to create a buffer zone in Syria and Iraq, to be occupied by its own troops and mercenaries in its pay. For the Yazidi people, the agreement is intended to complete what IS failed to do; eliminate them and remove their presence from lands they have lived in for millennia. Turkish armed forces have been shelling Shengal since August this year.
We call on the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to note the fears expressed by the Yazidi population and recognise the need to intercede with the government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to demand that they act in cooperation with representatives of the people in Shengal, including the Shengal Women’s Units and the Shengal Defence Units. The UK government must state that it opposes the Turkish government’s attacks on Shengal and intention to occupy parts of Syria and Iraq.
Peace in Kurdistan
Patrons: John Austin, Baroness Blower of Starch Green, former GS NUT, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Jill Evans, former MEP, Desmond Fernandes, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Christopher Gingell, Prof Dr. Michael Gunter, Secretary-General, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), Rahila Gupta, Nick Hildyard, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert, former MEP, Elfyn Llwyd, Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, David Morgan, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Ali Gul Ozbek, Former Councillor and Mayor of Haringey; Gareth Peirce, Dr Felix Padel, Maxine Peake, actor, Trevor Rayne, writer, Lord Rea, Joe Ryan, Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Stephen Smellie, PIK Trade Union Liaison Officer, Jonathan Steele, Steve Sweeney, Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary Permanent People’s Tribunal, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward, former MEP, Kariane Westrheim, Chair, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Hywel Williams MP.
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
44 Ainger Road, London NW3 3AT
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890