The Makhmour People’s Assembly calls on the international community: ‘fulfill your responsibilities’

Residents of Makhmour Refugee Camp read a statement (Roj News).

This is a translation of an article originally published in Kurdish by Roj News on June 8th, 2021. Read the original article here.

The Democratic People’s Assembly of Martyr Rustem Cudi Refugee Camp (Makhmour Camp) called on people around the world, the United Nations, the Ministry of Migration and Refugees, the Iraqi central government, and human rights organizations to take a stand against the attacks on the camp and take responsibility for its protection.

The Democratic People’s Assembly of Makhmour issued a statement about the recent threats and attacks targeting the refugee camp. Residents of the camp joined in the reading of the statement in front of the assembly building. After a commemoration in honor of the martyrs of the Kurdish freedom movement, Ali Urek, the co-chair of the People’s Assembly, read the statement.

The statement began as follows: “We, as the people of this camp, did not become refugees because of poverty and hardship. We became refugees because we did not accept the injustices that took place against us there [in southeastern Turkey in the 1990s, when thousands of Kurdish villages were destroyed].

To the authorities of the Iraqi government, the Ministry of Migration and Refugees, the UN, and public opinion: we as political refugees in Makhmour Refugee Camp would like to inform you about our situation, and to present you with our wishes and expectations.

As the refugee population of Makhmour Camp, the Turkish state has confronted us with many difficulties and hardships—both in our life in our ancestral villages and in our life as refugees. We have lost a lot because of this. The reason for our displacement and exile is the Turkish state. We are here in this camp today, and have been refugees for 28 years, because of their policy of discounting our legitimate rights.

We did not become refugees because we wanted to. We only wanted, like all the peoples of the world, to live our lives on our land, with our language and identity. We want to live in peace and tranquility.”

The statement continued: “To the powers and forces responsible for our lives: We as the people of Makhmour want to make this very clear to you, and we want you to understand us. What Turkey did to us 28 years ago, and continued to do in our lives as refugees, they now want to repeat in Makhmour with the same methods, with massacres. They attack us with baseless pretexts, they threaten us, they want to destroy the peace of our society.

Indeed, we became refugees for our fundamental rights. We support the Kurdish people’s freedom struggle under the leadership of Abdullah Ocalan, and we are committed to Ocalan’s philosophy. We are a civilian camp, and the majority of our population are children, women, and the elderly. The AKP-MHP regime [in Turkey] is a fascist regime. This regime wants to destroy the peace of our region. It is an enemy of Kurds in any and every place where Kurds live. We are against this regime because this fascist state commits massacres against the Kurdish people daily, and still seeks to do so today.

As the refugee population of Makhmour Camp, we call on all the people of the world, the UN, the Ministry of Migration and Refugees, the Iraqi central government, and human rights organizations to take a stand against the attacks and to protect our camp. We want you to fulfill your responsibilities towards us.”

Researcher following Kurdish politics, Syria, Turkey.

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Meghan Bodette

Meghan Bodette

Researcher following Kurdish politics, Syria, Turkey.

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