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Religious National Minorities in the Middle East

Parallel event at the 21st session of the human rights council, UNPO and the NonViolent Radical Party organised session entitled “Religious and National Minorities in the Middle East: Uncovering the Human Rights Situation in Iran and Iraq. The event was hosted by Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) and took place at Palais des Nations – Geneva, on 25th September 2012, 14.00-16.00.

The event aimed to bring attention to the human rights situation of religious and national minorities in Iran and Iraq, and to reach diplomatic staff members, UN staff members, academics, NGOs alike, and people with an interest in human and minority rights.

Antonio Stango (Member of the General Council, NRPTT) opened the event with a brief overview of the work of the Nonviolent Radical Party and pointed out the importance of raising awareness about the minority issues. Charles Graves (Secretary General, Interfaith International) discussed the general situation of minorities in Iran and Iraq. In his presentation, Christoph Wiedmer (Director, Society for Threatened Peoples) spoke about the Arab Spring and hopes and risks it represents to minorities in the Middle East region.

Sundus Abbas Iraqi Turkmen Front representative at the United Kingdom highlighted some of the most pressing issues currently facing Turkmen in Iraq, and she drew attention to the fact that Turkmen in Iraq are the most vulnerable people exposed to terrorist attacks in Iraq at the present.

Providing documented statistics numbers on Turkmen casualties who were subjected to bomb  attacks, assassination, threats and kidnappings in Turkmen regions, she added Turkmen are severely exposed to intimidations and theses systematically attacks against Turkmen people is to terrorize them and to force them to leave their cities and towns.

Also she emphasis that Turkmens request to obtain rights equal to those obtained by other groups and save what ever left from their unique culture and population. This will bring peace, stability and cooperation between all ethnic groups in the region which will make it a good model for the rest of the Middle East. 

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