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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home Self Determination: International Law & Practice >Kurdish Declaration of Self Determination

Kurdish Declaration of Self Determination

15 May 1992

[see also Mosul Vilayet Council - Fundamental Documents and
Towards Kurdistan - Some Pointers on the Road, Professor Galtung]

 In the name of God, the Almighty, Amen. 

We, the Leaders of the Kurdish Tribes of the Mosul Vilayet who, in pursuit of Kurdish traditions, customs and conservatism, alone are empowered to represent these Tribes and their Member Families and individual Citizens in everything concerning notably their security, well-being and relations with representatives and institutions of other peoples; 

acting under the responsibilities thus laid on our shoulders by ancient and valid tribal laws and customs; 

responding to the persistent violations and threats of violations of such fundamental human rights as Life, Liberty, Private Property and Pursuit of Happiness, visited upon our People and other inoffensive inhabitants of our ancestral lands comprising the Mosul Vilayet by the Iraqi Government under whose authority we have been placed conditionally by the League of Nations in 1925; 

recalling that the termination of the League of Nations Mandate over Iraq, Iraq's national independence and territorial integrity, as well as Iraq's ascension to Membership of the League of Nations on 3 October 1932 were conditional and based on Iraq's solemn Declaration of 30 May 1932, providing for permanent and strict protection notably of minority and private property rights and other servitudes which Iraq, with the concurrence of the Assembly of the League of Nations, declared to constitute "obligations of international concern", which are to be "placed under the guarantee of the League of Nations", which are to take precedence over any present or future Iraqi "law, regulation or official action", and which, in case of "any infraction or danger of infraction of any of these stipulations" may give rise to action by the League Council or, ultimately, the Permanent Court of International Justice; 

recalling that Iraq, on 21 December 1945, joined the United Nations while it was still a Member of the League of Nations, and that it has neither then nor since sought or obtained a change or lifting of any of these formal conditions attached to its national independence, and that the commitment of all United Nations Member States to the "independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq" (UN Security Council Resolutions 686 and 688) was never intended, and cannot in law have the effect to convey rights to Iraq which it has not acquired in due course, nor can it lessen the limitations prevailing on Iraq's sovereignty, and it cannot either reduce Iraq's "obligations of international concern" or diminish the international guarantees thus existing for the protection notably of our People; 

bearing in mind that the Assembly of the League of Nations, on 18 April 1946, adopted its last Resolution providing for the transfer to the United Nations of rights and obligations which were attributed to the League of Nations in treaties, mandates and declarations, and that article 37 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice provides for its jurisdiction in corresponding matters previously submitted to the Permanent Court of International Justice; 

appreciating the growing recognition by the international community of the true significance of the "genocidal practices" and other features of the Iraqi Government for the Kurdish People in particular, as evidenced in Security Council Resolutions 688 and 706, in the Report of the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Iraq of 1992, and by its Resolution of 5 March 1992 which unambiguously condemns Iraq for "massive violations of human rights, of the gravest nature, for which the Government of Iraq is responsible" - all of which constituting practices and violations which are seen to be incompatible particularly with Iraq's "obligations of international concern" and against which more effective forms of international guarantees are urgently called for, lest not only the thus in effect internationally condemned minorities, but the Rule of Law as well be further weakened; 

noting the Iraqi Government's devious attempt to regain the initiative and to save its most treasured booty, i.e. the Kirkuk oilfield it exploited at the expense of Kurdish tribes, some Turkoman families and some Turkish citizens as the sole apparent legal owners of these natural resources, by having the Iraqi Vice-Prime Minister Tariq Aziz formally declare to the UN Special Rapporteur: "Iraq would be the first to recognize Kurdish independence" (E/CN.4/1992/31, 108); 

noting the Iraqi Government's persistent failure to heed the humanitarian UN Resolutions 688 and 706, thus directly undercutting the humanitarian efforts of the United Nations organizations involved and of many other valiantly struggling non-governmental organizations, all seeking to provide timely, adequate and effective assistance to the victims of Iraqi violations of international law and fundamental norms of civilization; 

expressing our People's heartfelt gratitude for the prompt, generous and effective solidarity which continues to assure our People's physical survival and which - also in order to spare the taxpayers of the donor countries avoidable burdens - must now be redirected towards solidly based and competently managed self-help programs providing for the effective relief, redress and recovery of our People's, our society's and our individual Citizen's body and soul; 

trusting our neighboring countries and our friends everywhere to grant us the confidence, political support and needed assistance which will help setting our People on the road to what the future may hold for us which is, God willing and if we can help it, that our People become a factor which actively, responsively and with dignity will contribute to the region's stability, to the security of the world economy through reliable petroleum supplies, and to enhanced tolerance and harmony particularly among those peoples believing in One God; 

however, what we need now is an effective interim shield against any and all further abuses and atrocities committed under the cover of "arabization" by a manifestly irresponsible government which, over the past 60 years, persistently has failed to honor many of its solemnly undertaken international obligations, which can no longer be trusted and which thus has handed all peace-loving, law-abiding and responsible peoples and their representatives not only an opportunity but an obligation to liberate the Kurdish People of the Mosul Vilayet from the bloody claws of the perennial hostage-takers of Baghdad to whose rule we have anyway never freely consented, and to place the custody over our People's destiny back into the hands of the international community; 

having held the Constitutive Assembly in Kalaken in the Arbil district on 29 April 1992 with all 75 Kurdish Tribes of the Mosul Vilayet being duly represented either in the person of their Leaders, of which 63 attended personally, or otherwise, and having on that occasion formally set up and elected the Members of a tribal council which is fully and exclusively empowered to represent all Kurdish Tribes of the Mosul Vilayet, which shall henceforth be called the Mosul Vilayet Council eventually representing also other tribes, ethnic groups and religious minorities, with Abdul Kader Brefcani being elected as Speaker and Omar Khedher Hamad Al-Sourchi and Aziz Rasid Akrawy being elected as Secretaries; 

the undersigned Members of the Mosul Vilayet Council thus: 

1. claim and exercise the inalienable right to self-determination of the Kurdish inhabitants of the Mosul Vilayet in accordance with article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations

2. invite the United Nations Security Council to see to it that the application of its Resolutions 661, 688 and 706 will in no way cause effects detrimental to the Kurdish People and/or to the humanitarian efforts of the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations working in Iraq, and that all applicable UN Resolutions, international guarantees and other binding texts, notably Iraq's solemnly undertaken permanent "obligations of international concern" as specified in Iraq's constitutive Declaration of 30 May 1932, will either produce the originally intended effects forthwith or entail the appropriate consequences, to which effect we reserve all our rights and offer to appoint a Special Representative who, if that were agreeable to the Security Council as the trusted guardian of the Kurdish People's security and economic survival, would also be available for related consultations particularly with other UN Organizations; 

3. invite the governments of the Allied Powers to re-examine Iraq's notorious human rights and other violations particularly in light of Iraq's recently rediscovered "obligations of international concern", and to eventually draw on the services of the Special Representative of the Mosul Vilayet when considering ways and means to provide notably the Kurdish inhabitants of the Mosul Vilayet more effective forms of the international minority protection guarantees accorded to them in 1925 and 1932; 

4. invite the Turkish Government to avail itself of the good offices which the Mosul Vilayet Council may be able to provide towards an early cease-fire and a mutually advantageous lasting solution of Turkey's "Kurdish Question"; 

5. invite all other discriminated tribes, ethnic groups and religious minorities located in the Mosul Vilayet to be represented in the Mosul Vilayet Council, with the political parties in the Kurdish-controlled part of the Mosul Vilayet being invited to join their forces with those of the Kurdish Tribes as represented in and by the Mosul Vilayet Council, to participate in the establishment of a Coalition Government of National Reconstruction, and thus to concentrate all energies of the Kurdish People as well as all other available resources and help on the immense task ahead of rebuilding the Mosul Vilayet and the Kurdish society; 

6. declare the Kurdish self-help "Project BACKDOOR" to constitute a priority project which is fully supported by all Kurdish Tribes and by the entire Kurdish population: 

as a dignified way for the Kurds to work themselves out of their misery with their own resources, this humanitarian project requires above all the support of far-sighted and determined politicians, capable diplomats and genuine entrepreneurs, 

and it deserves the support of all men of good will everywhere, for it is to finance notably the highly appreciated UN humanitarian programs in Iraq as well as the Kurdish reconstruction program through the UN-assisted sale of Kurdish-owned petroleum pumped out of ancestral Kurdish lands, thus finally making the United Nations and the Kurds independent of the goodwill of Baghdad; 

7. declare their firm intention to introduce genuine democracy in the Mosul Vilayet and to hold general elections within twelve months, to which effects a Constitutional Commission shall be set up, with the United Nations Secretary-General, the Interparliamentary Union and other suitable institutions and organizations being invited to provide related services. 

Ankara, 15 May 1992 

(signed by 65 Kurdish tribe leaders of the Mosul Vilayet; first signatories: 

Omar Khedher Hamad Al-Sourchi (Secretary), Aziz Rashid Akrawy (Secretary), Abdul Kader Brefcani (Speaker), Sheik Salar M.Hasan Hafeed (Registrar), Aako Abbas Mamend Hamad, Mohammad Sidik Mahmoud, Moushir Hadi Ahmad, Zaid Omar Khedher, Taher Gazee Fatah, Mohammad Mahmood Harony, Said Mahmood Khaleefa, Ibrahim Ali Malo, Hussein Mohammad Othman) 

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