· My name is Matthias Diependaele, newly elected Member of the Flemish Parliament for the N-VA, the New Flemish Alliance. As a former parliamentary assistant of Frieda Brepoels, Member of the European Parliament for the New Flemish Alliance, I am very grateful that I can join you today in commemorating the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou. Frieda Brepoels genuinely regrets that she is not able to be present today, due to the installation of the new European Parliament in Strasbourg. Therefore, she asked me to bring her message of support for you.
· Exactly 20 years ago Dr. Ghassemlou, former Secretary-General of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Iran, was brutally killed in Vienna. At that time Dr. Ghassemlou and 2 other Kurds were negotiating in order to find a peaceful solution for the Kurdish people in Iran. In late November 1989 the Austrian Courts issued a warrant for the arrest of the three Iranian negociators and the Austrian Government expressly accused the Iranian Government as having instigated the attack. Moreover, recent evidence shows that also prominent leaders of the current Iranian regime might have played a significant role. Despite this evidence, the Iranian Government closed the file of the murder without a conclusion had been drawn.
· We strongly object to this practice which violates every principle of the democratic rule of law. Therefore, Frieda Brepoels together with the New Flemish Alliance fully supports the call for reopening the investigation on the assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou. We believe that this 20th anniversary commemoration as well as the current internal protest against the Iranian leadership, provides the momentum for revealing the truth. The true role of the Iranian secret service and the current leaders should be made clear to the public.
· While striving for Flemish autonomy in Europe, the New Flemish Alliance considers it crucial to support and defend the righteous call for self-determination of other people in Europe and the world, be it Basks, Palestinians, Tibetans or Kurds. Together with the Kurdish institute, we have taken and supported various initiatives to protect the rights of Kurds living in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and so on.
· Though some important results have been obtained, human rights organisations still observe daily violations. At the European level, the New Flemish Alliance will continue to strive for a democratic and peaceful solution for the Kurdish question as a whole. Essential human right like freedom of expression, press and the right to use the Kurdish language ought to be guaranteed. Equally, investments in the social-economic development and an efficient decentralised governance are needed.
· You can count on our support.