QAMISHLO, Syrian Kurdistan (K24) – On Friday, the Kurdish National Council in Syria (ENKS) launched a campaign to collect one million signatures and submit it to the United Nations Secretary-General to seek a solution to the Kurdish issue.
Signatories call Ban-Ki Moon to include the Kurdish issue in the upcoming Geneva III Conference on Syria. The event is to be held next week.
Speaking to K24 on Wednesday, Ibrahim Biro, head of ENKS, said "The petition emphasises the role that Kurds have played in Syria and asks that people be included in the decision-makings about their future."
"We want to tell the United Nations and the international community that the [Kurdish] people [in Syria] are the decision makers in such significant matters, and that politicians should not be the only ones who have a say in the destiny of our people," Biro said.
He pointed out that it is impossible to solve the Syrian crisis without resolving the problems of the Kurds and other minorities in Syria.
"Over fifty years, Syrian Kurds who make up about fifteen percent of the Syrian population have suffered systematic chauvinist policies applied by the regimes that came to power and targeted the national existence of the Kurds in Syria," reads the petition that ENKS published on Wednesday.
"The oppressive regimes [of Syria] exercised unjust policies against the Kurds, including displacement and expropriation. In 1962, after Syria was declared an Arab Republic, the Syrian regime at that time stripped about 300,000 Kurds of their citizenship, declared them aliens, and gave the Kurdish lands to Arabs, which made it impossible for them [victims] to get an education, jobs, or any public benefits," the statement continued, noting that when the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began as part of the Arab Spring in 2011, Syrian Kurds participated.
The Kurdish National Council in Syria (ENKS, also known as KNC) was founded in Erbil on October 26, 2011, with the support of the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masoud Barzani. The Syrian National Council (SNC) was established earlier in August 2011. The key difference between ENKS and SNC is that ENKS presses for Kurdish autonomy whereas the SNC has rejected anything more than administrative decentralization.
In 2012, the then UN peace envoy to Syria, Kofi Anan, initiated an "action group" conference (now referred to as Geneva I Conference on Syria), and the conference took place on June 30 in Geneva.
In 2014, the Geneva II Conference on Syria took place on January 22 in Montreux and on 23-31 January in Geneva. The UN peace envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, pursued the conference in cooperation with the United States and Russia.
(Reporting by Hisham Arafat; Editing by Ava Homa)