Editor's Note of Caution (25 January 1998)

Only future generations of historians can tell whether the private Swiss-based research group CORUM and its complement on the political scene, the Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers, have been more than generators of unfulfilled hopes.  Whether it was all justified, i.e. the attention arosen by their work (e.g. nuclear disarmament negotiators in the Kremlin in 1968 had sought to vilifiy what made the rounds then as the "red poison in green covers"), the probably unintended honor of being branded "diplomatic mercenaries" by some bad-tempered diplomats, and the UN's obliging honor to be formally associated with spies and modern Robin Hoods.  Whether, in retrospect, their often seemingly lost-cause efforts amounted to more than a waste of time and of scarce resources.  And, in the event, to what degree they have in fact served their designed purpose.

To be sure - and in as much as, in those functions, the editor was able to help it and was not undercut from without or from within - the objective has always been to help provide vision and guidance in an era of increasing confusion, to offer discrete, rapid and reliable documentary and intellectual muscle for conflict analysis and non-governmental services, and to avail informal political testing grounds for ideas aimed at avoiding or, as the case may be, obtaining a negotiated settlement of political conflicts of an international nature.

Having been involved in both groups, the editor prefers to let the record speak for itself.  And to concentrate his comments on current and foreseeable headaches and on ideas, elements and pathways which, conceivably, might contribute to avoid - if at all possible and desirable (1) - the currently re-appearing logique de guerre particularly in the Mideastern and the European theatre.

After completion of our ground-breaking research on political and economic implications of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (2) - which was as much vilified in Moscow, Washington and Berne as it was appreciated in Brazilia, Delhi, Paris, Teheran and elsewhere - we had been invited to lend our omni-directional expertise notably in the Teheran hostage crises of 1979/1981 and in the Falklands/Malvinas conflict.  An informal network of lawmakers from numerous countries thus availed itself for corresponding services when Iraq, on 2 August 1990, had invaded Kuwait and prevented thousands of stranded foreign nationals to leave either Iraq or Kuwait.  As director of CORUM and long-time adviser to Swiss and foreign parliamentarians, the editor became directly involved in those hostage-release and related efforts.  In turn, he was personally entrusted with minority protection missions for Northern Iraq and Yugoslavia, with good offices mandates in the constitutional crises in Algeria and the hostage affairs in Kashmir, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan and Peru, and with the representation of the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation ICESC (non-governmental organization in consultative status with ECOSOC and UNESCO).

Some of these outgrowths have left their traces in statements made by representatives of both governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to various UN bodies - from working groups over the International Court of Justice up to the UN Security Council.  Those most relevant to currently still unresolved issues - Algeria, Baltic minorities, hostage-takings (e.g. in Kashmir), Iraq, Yugoslavia, etc. - find reflection in the present record of communications, with some documents being published also in the official UN collection (UN codes: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/27; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29; E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48; E/CN.4/1994/NGO/54; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/NGO/27; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/47; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/51; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52).

Covering a wide spectrum in the field some call paradiplomacy, related de-classified communications eventually may form the core and central archive of this netsite (for the time being, the complete index on the Mosul Vilayet subject will be maintained at the web address: http://www.solami.com/mvcindex.htm, while on the subject of ex-Yugoslavia it will be accessible at: http://www.solami.com/93-29.html).  Unavoidably, the subjects thus covered often overlap and with each reader having his own agenda, a generally useful classification may here be found only in a strictly chronological order.  Beyond that, the extensive name and subjects indexes should cover related deficiencies, as may the wonders of the net, e.g. fine-tuned hyperlinks.

The following communications are focussed on the Mosul Vilayet and cover the period of 1990 to 1998.  As in the case of other sections of this site, most of its elements have been selected for their value to shed additional light on its central subjects, i.e. mankind's common roots in monotheism and effective minority protection as universally agreeable vehicles for unlocking the increasingly evident - and dangerous - gridlocks in the Middle East, the Balkans and elsewhere, and for opening pathways towards mutually beneficial New Horizons, not least for Jerusalem.  Of course, the relevancy of these elements is not always apparent to "instant historians", and it will become so to the untrained naked eye only when looked at from a certain time distance and when considering parallel developments which may have no obvious links.  Moreover, even people in highest places - some say those even more so than others - are not always at ease with ideas running against the grain and the party line but who, as history shows abundantly, are often the only truly helpful ones.  Granted, in very tight situations it takes indeed an independent, visionary and bold mind to think and act unswervingly in line with the insights which can be gained from the universally applicable philosophy underlying our logo (i.e. the puzzle of the square with nine stars the solution to which requires you to break out of worn-out tracks by drawing one line beyond the square into the surrounding space and by turning around out there in order to cut across two stars).

Thus, together with these additional explanations, we have now added these further elements.  Sometimes despite the editor's reservations.  The texts originating from third persons have been integrated notably for reasons of comity, balance or fairness.  In so doing, the editor implies neither his agreement with or support of the statements thus made by others, nor does he otherwise engage his responsibility.  His sole objective is to avail this unique communication platform for documents and statements he considers to be useful and to advance the debate - if possible without adding to the confusion and complication of things, and hopefully for helping along certain developments which may benefit from such plugs.

All this being said, and as the rising sound of war drums pierces through the cold winter nights even this far away from its origin, the editor cannot but deplore the - only perhaps inevitable - neglect on all sides of practical, reasonable and dignified pathways out of the current mess in the Middle East and in the very cradle of Europe.  E.g. it appears that the leadership of the Palestinians never seriously considered - or perhaps was not even informed by their subordinates and friends about - some efforts made on their behalf in 1990 and 1992, and advices transmitted to them in 1992, 1993 and 1994:

Similarly, the modern Nebuchadnezzar and other could-be-renewers-of-monotheism bordering ancient and reportedly re-discovered Eden have yet to recognize and constructively bring to bear the unique opportunities available to them.  This goes far beyond single-mindedly exploiting the power vacuum left by alleged world leaders which - with damages beyond their grasp - have managed to cover up their shortcomings while passing off their essentially empty gesticulations as leadership.  It requires profound insight, vision and courage to redirect the ship of state when its course has been found to be faulty.  It may be helped by supporting the voices of reason and clear-sightedness who have already prepared the path to mutually beneficial New Horizons.  And even at this late hour, a corresponding, well-considered and competently executed diplomatic initiative in the true spirit we prefer to read intoPresident Saddam Hussein's recent Hymn on Monotheism might well break the logjam.  It might effectively stop the war drums and provide prompt and effective relief and return to normalcy not only to the victims of the unbearable double-embargo in Northern Iraq, but through them to all residents in all of Iraq.

To this effect, principled men and women of goodwill anywhere are solicited to do all that is in their power.  Of course, even with the best of intentions and the most powerful forces at hand, the reverse side of Victor Hugo's medal still applies: "no force is strong enough to push through an idea whose time has not come!"  Yet, "corriger la fortune" is no French monopoly, and anyway, the test of the pudding lies in its eating.  Indeed, and particularly in a moment like this the lithmus test of real leadership cannot pass he who uses his muscles divorced from his dignity, his moral fibres and his brainpower, he who uses them for selfish purposes while neglecting historic opportunities to help others, and he who in words and deeds doesn't recognize himself as being no more than a channel of and a servant to our all One God.


(1)    From almost all socially, culturally, economically and politically relevant points of view, and in the absence of genuine substitutes for the defining functions of war, peace may be something less than desirable.  This is the seemingly preposterous yet well researched and defended conclusion of the more-than-ever re-readable study commissioned by President John F. Kennedy: Leonard C. Lewin (editor), "IRON MOUNTAIN REPORT - On the Desirability and Feasibility of Peace", Dial Press New York, 1967 (traduction française: "La Paix Condamnée", Calman-Lévy, Paris 1968; deutsche Übersetzung: "Verdammter Friede", Econ, 1968).

(2) A.Keller, H.Bolliger, B.Kalff"On the Economic Implications of the Non-Proliferation Treaty", Revue de Droit International, de Sciences Diplomatiques et Economiques (International Law Review, Sottile), I, 1968:  this research report of 47 pages, bound with a green cover, was also very acidly commented on by Radio Moscow in early 1968) ;  Anton Keller, Paul Bähr, Peter B.Kalff, "The Nonproliferation Treaty in Light of Nuclear Energy Developments", Revue de Droit International, de Sciences Diplomatiques et Economiques, III, 1975.  The editor acknowledges the numerous contributions made to these and related papers by Elizabeth Young and Lord Kennet.

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Statement by Sheik Salar M. Hasan Al-Hafeed
Registrar and Founding Member of the Mosul Vilayet Council

sponsored by the Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers,
delivered on  24 July 1992 to the UN Commission on Human Rights,
Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities,
Working Group on Indigenous Populations (1)

    Thank you, Madame Chair, for the opportunity to speak.  The problem of forced relocations has been a dreadful experience for my tribe and most of the other inhabitants of the Mosul Vilayet, i.e. notably the Arabs, the Armenians, the Assyrians, the Kurds and the Turkomans who, for centuries, have learned to live and work together peacefully in this Mideastern crossroad of history, religion and commerce.  That is to say until the League of Nations - conditionally but anyway - placed us under the rule of Baghdad.  But I am not here to accuse anybody.  Rather, I wish to share with you our experience of forced relocations in Northern Iraq: as a possible source of inspiration in the present drafting of a UN Declaration on Indigenous Populations.

    As I am speaking for the first time to this distinguished audience, and with your permission, Madame Chair, I may briefly explain my related family background.  One of my ancestors was Sheik Mahmoud Al-Hafeed, who led the Kurdish revolution in the wake of the brake-up of the Ottoman Empire.  As leader of the Sade Barzani tribe, I am now responsible for the well-being of thousands of families who, for decades and as a matter of government policy, have been up-rooted, displaced and abused on body and soul.  These conditions are most authoritatively described by the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Commission (the document detailing the genocide and other findings can be obtained in this building under the codes: E/CN.4/1992/31, or: S/23685, 18 February 1992).

    Recently re-discovered, forgotten but still valid League of Nations documents provide for international guarantees notably on the protection of ethnic, religious and cultural rights of minorities in the Mosul Vilayet.  These guarantees complement Iraq's formal "obligations of international concern" of May 30, 1932, which are enshrined in texts that are seen to be binding also on the United Nations as the legal successor of the League of Nations.  With the attachment of the Mosul Vilayet to the Kingdom of Iraq thus being conditional, and these conditions having manifestly been violated (just think of the some 180'000 forcefully displaced and presumably murdered inhabitants of the Mosul Vilayet), the United Nations now has an opportunity to strengthen the respect for the rule of law by taking corresponding, effectively protective measures, e.g. by setting up a UN Trust Territory there, and by extending the military protection down to the 34th parallel.  The leaders of all 75 Kurdish tribes have recently adopted a corresponding "Declaration of Self-Determination".  Based thereon, the Mosul Vilayet Council has been set up, representing all ethnic groups and religious communities; as such it now seeks to obtain first of all a prompt lifting of the UN embargo with regard to the liberated part of the Mosul Vilayet.

    From this example, the following lessons may be drawn with regard to the actual draft UN declaration on indigenous populations:

          1.  Even the most comprehensive written rights are essentially useless and even dangerous, for self-deluding chimeras, unless-they are associated with mechanisms providing for the beneficiaries, i.e. the people concerned, to keep them alive, to safely claim them and to effectively have them enforced.  To these effects, consideration should be given to the establishment of a comprehensive, reliable and promptly accessible inventory of these rights, and provisions should be made for the appropriate  national and international bodies to hear related claims.

          2.  The case of the indigenous populations of the Mosul Vilayet demonstrates the need that an effective channel to and through the UN Security Council should be made available for cases involving governmental disregard for related rights and obligations.  This case also is a warning against language implying a right to displacement under certain conditions.

(1) This and other statements have also been included on the website http://www.halcyon.com/FWDP/cwiscat.html of  the Center For World Indigenous Studies - P.O. Box 2574 - Olympia, WA 98507-2574, U.S.A. (fax: 360-956-1087, email: jburrows@halcyon.com)

Assyrian, Kurdish and Turkoman Representatives
Meet at the United Nations in Geneva

JOINT PRESS RELEASE * of 2 August 1994

    Representatives of the Assyrian, Kurdish and Turkoman minorities of Northern Iraq have met at the United Nations in Geneva for consultations. With no end in sight for the double embargo imposed on their populations, new approaches for bringing effective, equitable and non-discriminatory humanitarian relief to all segments of the population have to be developed urgently. The generally supported "Unity Declaration" of 31 May 1994 has been brought to the attention of the UN, NGOs and Governments concerned. It provides notably for "a comprehensive de-mining programme covering the liberated part of the Mosul Vilayet [Northern Iraq] which is to be funded on the basis of the locally available resources in line with UN Security Council resolution 688".

    The meetings were attended notably by Senator John J.Nimrod, Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, Dr.Muzaffar Arslan, Chairman Iraqi National Turkman Party, and Najim Omar K. Al-Sourchi, Registrar and Keeper of Records of the Mosul Vilayet.

*  jointly issued in Geneva by Representatives of:

7055 North Clark St. Chicago Ill. 60626, tel: 1773-2749262, fax: -2745866

Atatürk Bulvari 199/44 A, Ankara Kavaklidere, t: 90312-4271574, f: -4271674

Hay Alwozarah, Arbil; Suleymaniya fax: 863-682040046, 68204041, -68204006, -682040130

MVC Office of External Affairs, c/o Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers

POB 2580, 1211 Geneva 2, f: 4122-7400362).

Statement by Najim Omar Khedher Al-Sourchi
Registrar and Keeper of Records of the Mosul Vilayet

sponsored by the International Fellowship of Reconciliation,
delivered on 5 August 1994 by Marie Gougaud
to the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities

    Madame President, I have the honor to bring to the Sub-Commission the greetings of our peoples, and I take this opportunity to congratulate you to your election. I'm here to testify on the discrimination of minorities in Iraq.  With your permission, Madame President, I will briefly present myself.  I'll describe my functions and duties and I will share with you some of my experiences, conclusions and expectations which may be useful to you, too.  My name is Najim Omar Khedher Al-Sourchi.  I'm the son of Omar Sourchi who is the leader of the Sourchi tribe in the Mosul Vilayet.  I am a Kurd.

    After we were given assurances by the Allied powers and our peoples returned from their refuges in the mountains, I conducted a census among all households in our so-called "Safe Haven" with the help of all our teachers. This census material was to provide the basis for many relief programmes and reconstruction efforts.  But it also led the leaders of all Arab, Assysian, Kurd and Turkoman communities and tribes of the Mosul Vilayet to put additional responsibilities on my shoulders, in that they elected me on 19 October 1992 to the newly created post of Registrar and Keeper of Records of the Mosul Vilayet.

    In this capacity, Madame President, I seem to have become also a sort of focul point of information, anguish and hope of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural family which consists of some 6 million souls, which since over three years endures the effects of a crippling, devastating and demoralizing double embargo of the United Nations and the Baghdad regime.  Under such circumstances, this family has evidently no future on the present path where, in ever-growing numbers, humanitarian catastrophes compete for dwindling resources mobilized from among ever more burdened and emergency-tired Western taxpayers.

    This then is a new form of discrimination of minorities: it is called discrimination through allegedly legal sanctions.  In the case of our peoples, a terrible price is being paid, both individually and collectively, by each of our families and by each of our communities, but in the end also by the institutions in whose name all this is happening.  For if an ordinary citizen, say a teacher, has a salary of say 150 dinars, a roll of bread costs one dinar, an infant formula costs 180 dinars - if at all available - and a chicken costs around 200 dinars, those dependent on that salary cannot go very far.

    Already, we have had fathers who burned themselves to death because they no longer could feed and provide minimum shelter for their families.  And I have been confronted with cases of mothers offering their children for 15 dollars because they have found themselves unable to bring up their own off-springs.  For by now, society as we know it has largely disintegrated, no social safety net exists and even the traditional family defenses have been dangerously weakened.  Under such circumstances, it is time for men and women of wisdom and courage to look beyond present plans and policies and to seek to address the problems on more promising paths and with more effective means.

    Madame President, we have looked in this sense for guidance from the United Nations and particularly from this Sub-Commission and the Commission on Human Rights.  We have indeed found valuable insights and advice in the reports of the Special Rapporteurs on Iraq and on Minority Protection.  And we have no doubt that future reports will be even more helpful in as much as they will revive the memory on and contribute to the enforcement of the recently re-discovered international minority protection guarantees which are enshrined in the still valid but generally forgotten Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq of 30 May 1932 and which were reproduced and discussed in United Nations document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27, and E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48.

    The need for genuine and lasting relief measures in favor of our peoples has recently been impressed on most observers by the renewed outbreak of armed fights between followers of some political leaders in Northern Iraq.  Past neglect of the international minority protection guarantees which are supposed to protect our peoples, as well as the morally and legally unjustifiable sanctions imposed on our victimized and badly weakened peoples have largely contributed to the tensions which have given rise to the recent fightings.  The positive side of this story consists of the "Unity Declaration" of 31 May 1994 which has now received the unanimous support by all factors of the Mosul Vilayet's political, economic and cultural life, and which calls for the prompt establishment of a politically unprejudicial interim solution in the form of a UN Trust Territory over the 91'000 km2 Mosul Vilayet on the basis of

-   the previously mentioned Iraqi Declaration of 1932,

-   the UN General Assembly resolution 24 (1) of 12 February 1946,

-   the Security Council resolution 688, and

-   the United Nations' invitation of 12 November 1991 to demonstrate the "technical feasibility" of developing the locally available tapped oil fields for meeting urgent humanitarian needs.

    Finally, Madame President, since we are sitting on one of the world's greatest proven oil reserves, we could also help alleviate many a country's labor problems with self-financed humanitarian and reconstruction work.  May I thus express the hope and expectation that it is not beyond the grasp of imaginative politicians to help us help ourselves without burdening further your taxpayers.  So that we could again pump and refine our own heating oil and need not cut down the last trees in order to save us from freezing.  So that we can begin the re-forestation, de-mining and belaboring of our lands, and that our children will no longer risk to be maimed by anti-personnel mines whose removal is now blocked by sanctions, by inadequate funds and by a lack of vision.

The Iraqi Delegate's Intervention under his Right of Reply - 5 August 1994
(as translated and summarized in the United Nations Press Release HR/SC/94/10)

 "MOHAMMAD SALMAN (Iraq) said it was pleasant to hear various views concerning the situation of minorities. But it was regrettable to hear the International Fellowship of Reconciliation [raise] the question of minorities [in a way favoring] to dismember States and not to safeguard their unity. It was strange that the speaker did not mention which minority was meant. Iraq was experiencing enough difficulties through the international embargo. The Subcommission should address itself not to such minor complaints from a non-governmental organization, but to this major question."

Statement by Omar Khedher Al-Sourchi
Secretary and Founding Member of the Mosul Vilayet Council

sponsored by the International Human Rights Association of American Minorities,
delivered by Najim Omar Khedher Al-Sourchi on 16 August 1994
to the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities
under item 19 (Freedom of Movement)

    Madame President, my name is Omar Sourchi.  I am an Iraqi Kurd from the Mosul Vilayet which is located to the North of the Baghdad Vilayet. I was elected Secretary of the Mosul Vilayet Council in May and October 1992 by the representatives of all Arab, Armenian, Assyrian, Kurdish and Turkoman communities and tribes of the Mosul Vilayet which, in 1926, was conditionally attached to the Kingdom of Iraq.  I thank you, Madame President, for the privilege to give further testimony on the situation of the human rights in the Mosul Vilayet, particularly with regard to the freedom of movement.  And I take this opportunity to express our people's solidarity with our African-American brothers and sisters who struggle on their own paths to more self-fulfilment, dignity and prosperity.

    Madame President, freedom of movement, in any of its conventional forms, has not been available to our peoples for many years now.  And we have come to experience a particular dimension of this fundamental human right, that is to say the freedom not to move or be moved, the freedom to stay, in other words: the right against forced displacement which is included also in your Working Group's draft Declaration on the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples.

    To this day, our peoples are suffering from displacements forced on us by successive regimes:  The Assyrians in 1933, when they were almost annihilated as a people.  The Arab and Kurdish Jews in the forties.  And the Kurds who were pushed out of some 4500 villages which were distroyed during and after the Iran/Iraq war and who, more recently and to this day, still find themselves displaced and gradually forgotten in the wake of the Gulf War.  All this happened - and continues to happen - in violation of the international obligations the Kingdom of Iraq incurred in its constitutive and still fully binding Declaration of 30 May 1932 (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27).  The excellent reports of your Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Iraq (E/CN.4/1992/31 and E/CN.4/1994/58) expose some of these and other violations, and they give a clear picture of the murderous "Anfal" programme with its "genocidal practices" and systematic forced displacements of Kurds from their ancestral agricultural lands.

    These internal aggressions on our peoples have caused deep and festering wounds on our body and soul.  And the double embargo imposed on us by the United Nations and by Baghdad evidently make matters no better.  Indeed, as we have outlined in our previous statement of 5 August, our present conditions are such that the ordinary term freedom of movement refers to a sheer luxury which is out of reach for all but a handful of emissaries from our man-made disaster zone.  Madame President, we are not here to accuse anybody; in fact, if we can help it, we will do our utmost to bring early and effective relief also to our brothers and sisters in the Baghdad and the Basra Vilayets.  We have come here to seek advice and support for prompt and genuine relief from these persistent nightmares for all of us.  We want to listen and to learn.  And, God willing and with your support, we must find more imaginative and effective pathways to truly and lastingly help our devasted peoples through your channels.

    In this connexion, our peoples have gleaned a ray of hope from the Written Statement E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48 which was submitted to the Commission on Human Rights in March 1994.  Indeed, by looking back, we may not only better understand how we got into this terrible situation, but we discover possible pathways which have so far been overlooked.  With your permission, Madame President, I am thus referring to the League of Nations Report on the Mosul Vilayet (1) which was published in 1925 by what may be described as the predecessor of the present Sub-Commision.  More specifically, I am referring to the still relevant findings and recommendations of this League's Commission of Inquiry which took a revealing look into the ethnic, economic, religious, language and other conditions of the Mosul Vilayet.  For it accurately predicted many of the developments which led to the present situation.  And it tried to avoid the conflicts it foresaw clearly and unambiguously with the still - or again - relevant instrument of international minority protection guarantees.

    In conclusion, Madame President, I may thus recommend to this Sub-Commission and to the Special Rapporteur on Iraq to include this invaluable Report and the related League of Nations decisions and documents in their analysis and recommendations on how to get out of the present impasse.  So that such fundamental human rights as security against forced displacement will soon become reality for our peoples as well.


(1)    "Question of the Frontier between Turkey and Iraq", Commission of Inquiry Report, 16 July 1925, League of Nations Publication C 400, M 147, 1925

The Iraqi Delegate's Intervention under his Right of Reply - 16 August 1994
(as translated and summarized in the United Nations Press Release HR/SC/94/...)

"MOHAMMAD HUSSAIN (Iraq) said he regretted to hear the statement by the International Human Rights Association of American Minorities. The individual who had taken the floor was one of those who, by taking advantage of the situation in the north, confiscated the industrial materials to use them abroad. He did not represent the Kurds, but only the criminals. He was a criminal businessman who carried out the orders given to him. The information he gave about the Kurds in the north was inaccurate. However, Iraq would continue defending the rights of all its minorities."

In the footsteps of Sadruddin Aga Khan
Statement by Sheik Salar M. Hasan Al-Hafeed
Registrar and Founding Member of the Mosul Vilayet Council

sponsored by the International Human Rights Association of American Minorities, IHRAAM
delivered on 19 August 1994 by Sheik Salar M. Hasan Al-Hafeed and J.A.Keller
to the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities
under item 13 (Promotion of Human Rights Instruments)

    Madame President, my name is Sheik Salar Al-Hafeed.  I am an Iraqi Kurd from the Mosul Vilayet which is located to the North of the Baghdad Vilayet or District.  I am privileged to round up our testimonies of the 5th and the 16th August and wish to join in the solidarity we previously expressed towards our African-American brothers and sisters.  One of my ancestors, Sheik Mahmoud Al-Hafeed, led the revolt against the British occupants of the Mosul Vilayet in the early twenties, i.e. at the time the Government of His Majesty tried to shed the formal commitments on the Mosul Vilayet which Britain had incurred towards France under the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1) of 1916.  And it was before the Council of the League of Nations decided in 1925 to conditionally attach the Mosul Vilayet to the Kingdom of Iraq, rather than to Turkey.

    The conditions thus permanently imposed on the Kingdom of Iraq are detailed in UN Documents E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27 and E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48.  They appear to be of interest still today.  Moreover, this seems to be true for peoples and areas far beyond those directly concerned in what is known as the craddle of civilization, that is to say the area between the Euphrates and the Tigris.  I am, of course, talking about the international minority protection guarantees which were written into the constitutive Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq of 30 May 1932, and which constitute international human rights instruments of the very first order.

    Madame President, my colleagues and I from the Mosul Vilayet Council have taken upon our shoulders considerable burdens in order to come before the Sub-Commission to testify on the human rights conditions in our area.  We wanted to share with you our experience and analysis.  And we hoped to obtain from you understanding, advice and support for a rapid, principled and self-financing solution of the humanitarian disaster which was brought about and is being maintained by a crippling double embargo imposed by the United Nations and by Baghdad on our exhausted and dispairing population of some six million Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds and Turkomans.

    Madame President, we have done all that without threatening or accusing anybody. And in the spirit of genuine solidarity and cooperation as the source for regional stability, we have offered to extend a helpful hand to our similarly abused and victimized brothers and sisters in the Baghdad and the Basra Vilayets.  Regrettably then, some observers have yet to respond to our goodwill messages in a more helpful manner if they are serious about wanting to help our suffering populations.  In response to their apparent desire for more details and specifics, I may thus be permitted, Madame President, to develop briefly our ideas on forgotten but still valid and useful human rights instruments. Indeed, the populations of the Baghdad, Basra and Mosul Vilayets are still covered by international minority protection guarantees.  And in light of their potential usefulness in those and other cases around the world, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, in his visionary Sorbonne speech of 25 October 1992, has already called for a closer look at them and on how to apply them effectively.

    With said 1932 Declaration, Iraq incurred the permanent obligation to assure to all of its inhabitants "full and complete protection of life and liberty ... without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race or religion."  Its article 9 says that "Iraq undertakes that in the liwas of Mosul, Arbil, Kirkuk and Sulaimaniya, the official language, side by side with Arabic, shall be Kurdish in the quadhas in which the population is predominently of Kurdish race." And article 10 declares unambiguously:

    Madame President, the United Nations General Assembly transferred with its Resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946 all related League of Nations functions and powers to the United Nations System.  We have obtained legal advice showing that neither the League of Nations, nor the United Nations have ever to any degree relieved Iraq of the obligations it freely incurred under this 1932 Declaration.

    Successive Iraqi regimes have manifestly and grossly violated these obligations as well as the specific 1926 attachment conditions concerning the Mosul Vilayet. Iraq never had any other title to that area.  We fully understand the concern for the territorial integrity of any country, and we thus fully respect that of Iraq - in its borders of 1925, that is.  Indeed, Iraq is seen to have irrecoverably forfeited whatever rights it might have had with regard to the Mosul Vilayet.  To a lesser extent, that may also apply to the Marsh Arabs' ancestral lands in the Basra Vilayet and to other disaster zones of Iraq's own making.  At any rate, the UN General Assembly has all the powers in its hands to effectively and promptly resolve these humanitarian catastrophes without burdening the taxpayers any further.  For with some imagination and will it can truly build on its authority to "take such measures and give such directions as it may deem proper and effective in the circumstances."

    In line with the suggestions offered by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, this, Madame President, may include setting up promptly an unprejudicial interim solution in the form of a regionally stabilizing UN Trusteeship for the next 10 to 25 years covering at least the historical Mosul Vilayet. In line with the UN Charter, the peoples concerned may then be called upon to responsibly exercise their inalienable right of self-determination which, in this case, may mean re-attachment to Irak, re-attachment to Turkey, attachment to Iran, attachment to Syria, or independence.  On the same legal basis of said 1932 Declaration, a similar solution may be considered for much of the Basra Vilayet and perhaps even for the Baghdad Vilayet.  However, given a genuine chance, the peoples involved might rather opt for an even bolder solution, namely a complete dissolution of their emasculated state e.g. into a United Kingdom of Jordan and Mesopotamia.

    Finally, Madame President, our experience may hold lessons for other minorities in need of international protection.  Human rights instruments, no less than treaties, laws and other carriers of hopes and guarantees, are only self-deluding pieces of paper unless certain conditions are met.  At a minimum, the beneficiaries of these guarantees should be able to invoke them fearlessly and effectively before the corresponding authorities.  And they should be able to obtain a prompt hearing for their related grievances before a trustworthy third authority.  One solution we submit for your consideration, Madame President, is already contained in a paper on Baltic minorities (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/27).  It provides for Special Representatives who would be elected directly by the beneficiaries of present and future international minority protection guarantees, and who would represent them directly to the guaranteeing power or institution on all related matters.


(1) J.C. HUREWITZ, "The Middle East and North Africa in World Politics - Vol.2 British-French Supremacy, 1914-1945", Yale University, New Haven 1979, p.60-64, 118-127

The Iraqi Delegate's Intervention under his Right of Reply - 19 August 1994
(as translated and summarized in the United Nations Press Release HR/SC/94/28, p.7)

"MOHAMMAD AL-DOURY (Iraq) said this morning a person claiming to be a Kurd and wearing a Kurdish costume had spoken about a topic that was not actually related to the Kurds, and had been inaccurate in other ways.  The person had been used by another non-Iraqi person who was well-known for his hostile attitude towards Iraq, who worked for the United Nations, who advocated proposals hostile to Iraq.  He had nothing to do with human rights, but favored the illegal division of Iraq.  Only those paid by foreign parties favoured the division of Iraq.  Iraq was preparing legal measures to bring such persons to justice.  They had no status to call for an international trusteeship of Iraq.  They were simply diplomatic mercenaries."