Jan 12, 2016

Iraqi Turkmen Delegation Pays Visit to UNPO Brussels Office


On 7 January 2016, Mr Mohamed Koja, Deputy Governor of Saladin Governorate of Iraq, and Dr Sheth Jerjis, Chairman of the Iraqi Turkmen Human Rights Research Foundation in the Netherlands, visited UNPO’s Advocacy Office in Brussels.  The aim of the meeting was to draw attention to the current situation in Iraq and the alarming conditions of the Turkmen community.

During the meeting with the UNPO secretariat, Mr Koja highlighted the security challenges and dire social conditions of the Turkmen community in Central Iraq and the KRG region, in particular the situation of the town of Tuzkhurmatu. The Deputy Governor shared his concerns about the changing demographics and security zones of the country and their negative effects on the underrepresented Turkmen community. He highlighted that a recent skirmish between Kurdish and local Turkmen forces in Tuzkhurmatu resulted in the loss of many lives, caused extensive damage to the town’s central hospital and left the marketplace in complete ruins. The tumultuous happenings in Tuzkhurmatu and other Turkmen areas alike have left the community members worried about the future of their historical homelands.

The human rights challenges for Iraq and the Turkmen community in 2016 were also discussed during the visit. The fight against ISIS, political turmoil between different factions in the country, and the dire conditions of IDPs were listed as the main issues of concern for the newly commenced year. Following the informative discussion with the Turkmen representatives, the UNPO Secretariat underlined the importance of proper documentation of human rights abuses in Iraq and the challenges faced by the Iraqi Turkmen, in order to bring the issues to the attention of international bodies.

Recognizing that the Iraqi Turkmen, who live amidst the turbulent political and security dynamics of Iraq, need all the attention they can get, UNPO will continue its efforts to raise awareness of the community’s dire human rights situation.