by Ms. Laila Jamal Mohammed, KNN TV(Iraq)
Citizens in Kurdistan Region-Iraq have demanded, demonstrated and pushed for their civil and political rights through opposition political parties. This is a result of the broken political and economic system that lacks the potential and the capabilities to lead to building a civil and stable society and the welfare of the citizens.
Kurdistan Region is unique in terms of ethnicity, language, culture and history but the political culture and the political system suffer from the same issues such as lack of rights, freedom and democratic governance that is common in the Middle East. It is rather obvious that the pillars of genuine peace are the rights of citizens, freedom and democratic norms.
In my view building peace in Kurdistan Region necessitates:
- Dependence on democratic progress and peaceful means within Kurdistan such as democratic and civil political parties, civil society organizations, professional and independent journalism and human rights activism.
- Gaining support from the democratic and peaceful organizations abroad such as international organizations, and the strengthening of political, economic and cultural relations between Kurdistan Region and democratic states.
The process of building peace in regions and countries like Kurdistan Region requires dictates building strong relations with democratic and developed countries. In particular, strong relations with countries and movements which prioritize on peace and security in the Middle East and in the world.
In Kurdistan Region democratic experience does not have a long history. In the meantime, it has faced many challenges both politically and economically. That said, not all doors are closed when it comes to building peace should opportunity be exploited in the right manner.
There are such opportunities for genuine peace and the majority of the population aspires and works towards peace.
There are huge responsibilities and democratic values that require our tireless efforts. We all must engage with our communities and in political process that can lead to:
- The protection of all citizens from fear, intimidation and violations.
- The participation of all citizens in the political and decision-making process and the government is accountable to the people.
- The equality of all citizens before the law, ensuring justice for all and protecting human rights.
- Equality of all in order to have their basic needs met such as food, clean water and a place to reside in as well as education, healthcare and the environment.
- Citizens have equal rights to work, there no gender inequalities, ethnic discrimination or insecurity and violation of rights on the basis of one’s identity.
The question that those who seek genuine peace grapple with is the following: To what extent these rights are protected within the current political and economic systems in Kurdistan Region? There are deep concerns in this regard. There all huge problems in terms of democratic governance and a dignified life for citizens. But there is hope since there are serious attempts to consolidate these values in the laws and the political systems.
In the context of the history of the Kurds and Kurdistan Region one cannot overestimate the crucial need for peace and democracy. We need a practical framework to address and find sustainable solutions for the systemic and cultural problems from within. This also requires building strong relations with peaceful and democratic nations as well as international organizations. I strongly believe that genuine peace is attainable through combining internal and external factors.