September 22, 2017 Comments are off admin

UNPO Side-Event to the 36th Session of the UNHRC: Enforced Disappearances in Iran and the Assault on the Fundamental Rights

Mr Peshko Khosravi, representative of the Komala Party, emphasized the surveillance apparatus put in place against the population and political dissidents. He reported the case of Narmin Karimi, who was captured by security forces at her place in exchange of her hiding brothers – they never heard back from her. Mr Khosravi’s took the opportunity to denounce the increasing militarization of Kurdish cities in Iran, evident with his friend’s case in Sanandaj, who was arrested 30 minutes after his arrival to hospital, while receiving medical assistance. Criticizing the international community’s misconception of the Iranian President Hassan Rohani, assumed to be a moderate, Mr Khosravi clarified that, in fact, human rights violations have increased tremendously under his mandates as he benefits from the lack of international pressure.


July 26, 2017 Comments are off admin

Iranian Kurdistan Pleads to US: Support Human Rights in Iran

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a Thursday presentation at the London Center for Policy Research in Washington, D.C., Salah Bayaziddi, a representative of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan to the United States, explained that President Obama missed a historic opportunity to effect positive change in Iran when he refused to support the Green Revolution in Iran in June 2009.

Truly mastering Middle Eastern politics demands understanding the Kurds, an ethnically distinct 10-12 million people that form a culturally distinct majority population known as “Greater Kurdistan” that is spread out among four different countries:  southeastern Turkey (Northern Kurdistan), northern Syria (Western Kurdistan), northern Iraq (Southern Kurdistan), and northwestern Iran (Eastern Kurdistan).



July 24, 2017 Comments are off admin

Iran: Enforced disappearances of Kurdish men arrested after armed clashes and reprisals against families must end immediately

Iran: Enforced disappearances of Kurdish men arrested after armed clashes and reprisals against families must end immediately

The Iranian authorities must immediately reveal the fate and whereabouts of five men from Iran’s Kurdish minority who have been subject to enforced disappearances since 23 and 24 June 2017


December 27, 2016 Comments are off admin

The Role of Women in the Middle East

The Role of Women in the Middle East

On 19 November 2016, UNPO and the Rojhalat Women’s Organisation organised a full-day conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which brought together a wide range of women’s rights advocates from many different countries. The speeches and subsequent discussions between the panellists and the audience focussed on concrete activities, in the past and the future, to increase women’s access to social, political and economical means.

Speakers from UNPO and the Rojhalat Women’s Organisation gave their views on “the role of women in the Middle East: how to obtain more rights for women and build up a better democracy”.

Moira Holden and Iris Schelfhout, UNPO representatives, opened the conference by highlighting the valuable role women have already played and could play further. Sharing from her own experiences Ms Schelfhout noted that women are essential in helping to solve disputes without violence because women’s strategies for conflictresolution are often based on building a coalition formed through mutual respect devoid of direct confrontation.

Financial expert and author Claire Phillipeau shared her holistic vision on how to increase the rights of women. Financial inclusion is one of the millennium development goals and access to financial services can serve as a bridge out of poverty. Together with a team, Ms Phillipeau developed several payment apps for the emerging markets. She continued her contribution to the conference with philosophical and practical means on how to combat global issues like inequality, overpopulation, climate change and reproductive rights for women. Family planning and governance of women over their own body is also an essential part of the empowerment of women, which should not be hampered by religious dogma.

Ira Stam, a board member of Passage, a Christian Social Women’s Movement with over 15-thousand members, outlined several international projects in which the group had been involved and which serve as succesful case studies. A project in India to support women in rural areas resulted in women being helped to set up their own businesses by making home-made products and selling them commercially. Their community saw reduced rates of domestic violence and alcoholism because the women opened up their own stores and refused to sell alcohol. Another project in Jordan, based on the principle of training the trainer, saw women learn to lobby on the inequality of wages of women compared to men and on the heritage rights which see women lose their rights to their brothers. ‘Women now have more self awareness and feel stronger to fight for changes,’ said Ms. Stam.

Nahid Bahamani told the audience that women have always suffered from barriers in aspects of politics, social issues and the economy. ‘They need to have a voice,’ she said. ‘We are working towards hopefully minimising this discrimination.’

Dr Asaad Rashidi added that women’s rights have been ignored and he called for more women to be supported in their bid to become more involved in politics and to take on more leadership roles.

Esmat Sophie highlighted the role of women in history, showing how women had been dominant figures in some civilisations, such as Cyprus, Egypt and China, yet their achievements had largely been airbrushed and forgotten. It is up to us to raise awareness of these important historical contributions that women have made and use it as an inspiration for women today.

September 15, 2016 Comments are off admin

Abdullah Mohtadi Shares his Views on Regional Politics with MERI Staff

“Innovative approaches and evidence-based strategies are what we need in Middle East politics” noted the Secretary General of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan in his visit to MERI on August 23, 2016. Mohtadi met MERI Research Fellows, and staff and exchanged views on regional politics, Middle Eastern stability and Kurdish politics.

Mr Mohtadi and MERI staff, including Professor Dlawer Ala’Aldeen, Mr Fuad Smail and Mr Hawraman Ali, discussed the current political dynamics, including the role of the Kurdish political parties as local actors.  They agreed that it was essential for all Kurdish parties to remain committed to promoting democracy, pluralism and tolerance.

Mr Mohtadi, a highly experienced politician and an economist by training, appreciated the importance of think tanks, and research institutes in promoting human rights and contributing towards building a better Middle East.

In this context, he expressed his willingness to engage with MERI and take part in its researches, seminars and conferences.  This offer was welcomed by Ala’Aldeen who explained the nature of MERI’s work, and stressed the importance of remaining as an impartial and academically focused institution.  “MERI has been and will remain at equal distance between all actors, locally, regionally and internationally”, he added

January 27, 2016 Comments are off admin

‘Let’s Argue Only Once We Have a Parliament to Do So’ – HoC Public Forum Highlights Need for a United Kurdish Voice in Iran, January 27, 2016

Mr Abdullah Mohtadi, leader of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, laid out the current political situation, underlining how every part of Kurdistan, a very large region split mainly between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, has its own problems and history.

He pointed out how the significant role played by the Kurds against the rise of the Islamic State has increased the community’s visibility. However, this has not benefitted the Kurds of Iran, not due to lack of action or willingness of their part, but to the country’s isolation, as well as to the presence of salient issues such as the nuclear deal, which made relations with Iran more sensitive for most influential countries.

Mr Mohtadi then outlined how the Iranian Kurds are discriminated on an everyday basis as well as deprived of basic political rights. There is not one Kurdish governor in any of the Kurdish provinces, nor is the Kurdish language taught in schools, despite its protection in the constitution.

January 14, 2016 Comments are off admin

Iranian Kurdistan: Komala Party Calls for International Support

Abdullah Mohtadi, Leader of the Komala Party [Kurdish political party in Iran], has asked for the support of the international community not only in Syria, but also in Iraq and Iran, where Kurds are victims of severe human rights violations. He expressed hope that the growing interest in the Kurdish cause will not diminish once the Islamic State is defeated. 

Below is an article published by Digital Journal:

FLORENCE, Italy, Oct. 13, 2014 — The Islamic State’s assault on Kobani and the brave resistance of Syrian Kurds has brought the Kurds’ suffering to the attention of the international community.

At the Mediterranean Forum Conference on the Middle East, the Secretary General for the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, Abdullah Mohtadi, expressed his deepest support and sympathy to the Syrian brothers and sisters standing for their legitimate rights against any army of religious extremists. The Komala Party is an Iranian opposition party fighting for a free, democratic Iran inclusive of all religious and ethnic minorities.

At the conference, the Iranian Kurdish leader called on the United States and its allies to support Kurds in Iran, Iraq and Syria politically and militarily.

“In Iraq and Syria, Kurds require equipment and training with greater scope and more urgency and speed,” Mr. Mohtadi said.

“In Syria, the priority should be the destruction of the Islamic State, however, Bashar al Assad should not be regarded as part of the solution.

“In Iraq, the Kurds have proved to be the most reliable partner in a volatile situation. If the international community wants the new Iraq to work, they should press its new government to abandon Maliki’s policies and adopt more inclusive ones.”

A lesser-known oppression of Kurds is the continuous suffering and violations of human rights at the hands of the Iranian regime. Mr. Mohtadi described years of violence and suppression Iranian Kurds have suffered.

“Iran’s vehement onslaught against its Kurds has been going on for decades. However, they are often overlooked,” Mr. Mohtadi said. “The current Iranian regime is an unreliable international partner. Iranian Kurds – such as the Komala Party – are at the forefront of a democratic movement in Iran, which deserves the support of the West.”

While Kurds have historically faced dire situations, they are not simply victims. Kurdish people are some of the strongest advocates for democracy and Western values, and focus on building a free, democratic society with equal rights for all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, religion or gender.

“Kurds are making their history through sweat, blood and sacrifice and we are already contributing to the reshaping of a new emerging Middle East.

“The plight of the Kurds has the world’s attention now as it never has before. In order to defeat extremism, the international community must now support Kurds in their fights for legitimate rights, whether in Iraq, Syria, or Iran.”

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