Weaponizing Embargo as Punishment: The Makhmur Refugee Camp, a report by the KNK

The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) has released a report called "Weaponizing Embargo as Punishment:The Makhmur Refugee Camp".

The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) has released a report called "Weaponizing Embargo as Punishment:The Makhmur Refugee Camp".

Introducing the report the KNK said: "The people of the Makhmur Refugee Camp (Mexmûr in Kurdish), are now struggling with new threats and challenges, more than two decades after being forced from their homes. The Makhmur Camp has a strategic location, serving as the gateway to Southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq) from the south."

The report added: "In August 2014, as ISIS was overrunning large parts of Iraq and Syria, the terrorist organisation targeted Makhmur as a step to advancing on Erbil, the capital and largest city of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. At that time, ISIS invaded and occupied the camp. Thankfully however, the people of Makhmur united to form popular militias and joined Kurdish guerrillas in resisting the advance of ISIS. The heroic stance of self-defence involved women and youth, as they collectively prevented a catastrophic invasion of Southern Kurdistan. However, this resistance was also on behalf of humanity, as they proved for the first time that the barbaric ideology of ISIS could be defeated by free people. After this victory, Mr. Masoud Barzani, then President of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Kurdistan Region of Iraq, visited the Makhmur Camp and expressed his thanks to the self-defence forces, and congratulated them for their role in the victory."

The KNK listed the following demands: 

"We request that the United Nations condemn Erdoğan’s ongoing violations of Iraqi sovereignty and threats and attacks against civilians in Makhmur and elsewhere in the country, and to work with the Iraqi government and local authorities to end the illegal embargo on the Makhmur Refugee Camp, allow aid to reach the camp, and guarantee the safety of the camp’s residents.

* We call on the UN to immediately ensure that the embargo on the Makhmur Camp is lifted, and that the Makhmur Camp has access to food supplies and medical care.

* We call for an end to Turkish military aggression against the Makhmur Camp. If Turkey is allowed to act with impunity, it will continue targeting the residents of the Makhmur Camp, resulting in more death and destruction.

* The government of Iraq must take responsibility for crimes committed against civilians living within Iraq’s borders, who have now been targeted by military airstrikes using Iraqi airspace. We therefore call on the government of Iraq to act against this violation of its national sovereignty.

* We call on the international community, the defenders of human rights, and global civil society to react against the illegal and deadly acts of Turkish military aggression against the Makhmur Camp. Refugees are supposed to be a protected vulnerable population, not target practice for an invading force’s bombing campaigns."

The full report can be read here