BRUSSELS,— The current Iraqi government still holds properties belonging to Faili Kurds who were deported to Iran by the Baathist regime, and the Failis wish to return to their homes, an Iraqi MP said at an international conference at European Parliament.
Rezan Shex Diler, a lawyer and parliamentarian from Sulaimani, said Faili Kurds deported to Iran by Saddam want to return to Iraq, but their properties are still seized by the new Iraqi government, Hayder al-Khoei, an associate fellow at the London-based think tank Chatham House tweeted while at the event in Brussels, Belgium.
Thursday’s event entitled ‘International Conference on Kurds from Anatolia in European Parliament’ was organized by the Kurdish Institute of Brussels.
The Faili Kurds are a Shiite community, with roots in Ilam, Kermanshah and Luristan in Iranian Kurdistan. Today, they are found in Baghdad, Khanaqin and Mandali in Iraq. They have their own dialect, called Faili.
Thirty-seven years ago this month, the Iraqi regime attacked and deported thousands of Failis to Iran, accusing them of not being Iraqis and siding with the enemy in Saddam’s 1980-88 war with neighboring Iran.
The Faili Kurds supported the Kurdish rebellion in Iraq between 1961-1975. This created a concern among the Baath-regime, since they feared that the Faili Kurds would support the theocratic regime in Iran against Iraq because of their shared Shiite faith.
Large numbers of Faili Kurdish families and citizens were forcefully deported by Iraqi forces in the early eighties to Iran. Their properties and papers were confiscated. Thousands were killed or died — including women and children — as they tried to find shelter beyond Iraq’s closed borders.
For years, Kurdish communities have called for international recognition of the atrocities committed against Failis by the Baathist regime.
Since Saddam’s overthrow after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, some Faili Kurds have reclaimed their confiscated properties and struggled to prosecute those behind the deportations.
Speakers included Kadri Yildirim, an HDP deputy from Sert; Heci Akman, a professor at the University of Bergen in Norway; Ahmet Gezer, a spokesperson for the Platform of Central Anatolian Kurds in Europe (PKAN-E); and Mehmet Bayrak, a Kurdish historian from Germany.
Opening remarks were made by Sevket Bakan, co-chair of the PKAN-E, and Josef Wiedenholzer a member of the European Parliament from the Austrian Social Democrats Party.
A group of Kurdish lawmakers including Salar Mahmud also called for Turkey to release Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag.
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