A high-level KRG delegation discusses accountability and justice for genocide at UK Parliament

The Kurdistan Regional Government UK Representation in collaboration with the Conservative Middle East Council, the Centre for Opposition Studies at the University of Bolton, and the APPG on the Kurdistan Region hosted a senior KRG delegation led by H.E. Mahmood Haji Salih, KRG’s Minister for Martyrs and Anfal Affairs at the UK Parliament for a  discussion on Accountability and Justice, Genocide Recognition in the Framework of International Law – the Islamic State’s crimes against the Yazidis in Iraq on Monday 26th November 2018.

The panel discussion was chaired by Mr Jack Lopresti MP, the Chairman of All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Kurdistan Region, followed by remarks from the KRG High Representative to the UK, Mr Karwan Jamal Tahir, underlining the urgent need for collective actions by the international community to reinforce the rule of law to ensure justice for genocide survivors and also protect the populations from genocide, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. Mr Tahir said: “We in the Kurdistan Region were credible partners to defeat ISIS, which we did at least physically. Now we need the same international commitment or alliance that are necessary to punish the criminals and bring them to justice. As the United Kingdom supported the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution on Daesh Accountability, I urge the British government to also press the UN to expedite the implementation of the resolution.”

Minister Mahmood Haji Salih praised all the concreated efforts taken by the UK and the United Nations for passing a resolution to gather and preserve evidence of Daesh crimes in Iraq.  On the basis of legal framework, Minister Mahmood said: “there is a need for the creation of a special international tribunal to uphold perpetrators accountable for their crimes and deter others from committing similar atrocities in the future.”

Speaking at the panel, Mrs Sherri Kraham Talabani, President and Executive Director of the SEED Foundation for Change said: “We have a severely trauma affected population where all members of the community were exposed to violence, displacement, loss of lives, witnessing the killing of their loved ones and ongoing trauma of not knowing the missing, those in captivity were exposed to prolong terror and violence.” She stated that Seed and other organisations are providing psychotherapy treatments but both the availability and quality of services remain a problem. “We need to sustain the KRG and NGOs with resources to continue to support the displaced and those affected by war with comprehensive and long-term services to improve overall wellbeing,” Mrs Talabani added.

Addressing the role of stability in regional security, Dr Sami Jalal Hussein, General Director of Divan of the KRG Ministry of Interior stated that the emergence of Daesh in Iraq and Syria have posed threats to stability and security of the Kurdistan Region. “Daesh presence in Iraq and Syria resulted in the displacement of 200,000 Syrian refuges and 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens since 2014. The Kurdistan Region needs continued support from the international partners to facilitate reconciliation and restoration of stability in areas liberated from Daesh control, and also response to the immediate humanitarian needs” Dr Sami added.

The panel session was concluded by a speech from Dr Alexander Korb, from the Stanley Burton Centre of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Leicester, he said: “Genocide prevention starts in protecting vulnerable groups, and their rights, in a multi-ethnic society. So we need to preserve the multi-ethnicity and diversity of the Kurdish Region, and of Iraq, in order to make sure that an ordeal such as the Yezidi genocide does not occur again. Once genocide occurs, it takes decades to recognise, to reconstruct ad to reconcile. The Sinjar region is a region filled with destruction, trauma and despair, and it will take year-long national and international efforts to help the survivors of genocide.”

The event was attended by Madam Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, MPs, Lord, journalists, experts, scholars, academics and NGOs.