Peace delegation prevented from holding rally outside U.N. office in Erbil

Dozens of international activists hold a rally outside a hotel in Erbil after security forces prevented them from holding a rally outside the U.N. office in Erbil, June 14, 2021. (Social Media photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The International Peace Delegation including activists and journalists was prevented from holding a rally outside the U.N. office in Erbil against Turkish attacks on the border areas in the Kurdistan Region, the group said on Monday.

The delegation said in a statement that around 30 members of the security forces holding assault rifles were keeping the delegation including 60 members in Erbil.

It further said the delegation had even held talks with the head of the Kurdistan Region’s department of foreign relations on Sunday and given permission to hold the rally.

“The entire peace delegation in northern Iraq is being held in the hotel today to prevent a rally and press conference in front of the U.N. representation in Erbil,” the delegation said.

Member of the FAU international committee Wolf Meyer said members of the delegation had been arrested or deported from the Kurdistan Region.

“The current actions of the government of the Iraqi Kurdistan are unworthy of official international relations and are reminiscent not of a civil democracy but of a Turkish dictatorship,” Meyer added.

“We demand all prisoners be released, the right to demonstrate and joint agreements be respected,” he said.

On Sunday, the international delegation for peace and freedom said it was “outraged” by the deportations of a number of international friends at Erbil airport, saying their visit was to stand against “colonization” by extend states.

On Saturday, a group of more than 20 people including journalists were banned by authorities at Erbil airport from entering the Kurdistan Region.

The international delegation also said 40 people had either been deported or were about to be deported, adding that at least 27 others were held at Germany’s Düsseldorf airport and prevented from traveling to the Kurdistan Region.

“We are internationalists, and we don’t represent any Kurdish parties or specific political movements,” it said. “We’re standing against the colonization of Kurdistan by external states.”

“We are not here to stand against any Kurdish parties. Quite the contrary, we want to support a dialogue between all different views. It is not about a Kurdish problem, but aggression coming from the Turkish state and Turkish military, directed at the local people and the ecosystems of the Kurdish regions,” it added.

“This situation is a trap; creating tensions between Kurds, with the worrying potential to escalate into armed conflict, which would endanger peace and the future of the whole Middle East.”

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