The Kurdistan Regional Government calls upon the international community to intervene with the Government of Iraq to end its collective measures against the people and government of the Kurdistan Region.
The restrictive policies adopted by Baghdad against Erbil are in violation of Iraq’s obligations and responsibilities under international and humanitarian law, and its duty as a state to respect and protect its citizens, including those displaced, and to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals and groups.
Reducing the Kurdistan Region’s budget in the 2018 Draft Budget Bill without involving the Kurdistan Regional Government, closure of the Kurdistan Region’s airspace, and travel restrictions are among measures of collective punishment against Iraqi citizens.
Furthermore, these measures greatly hinder personnel and assistance being provided to more than 1.5 million displaced persons who have taken refuge in the Kurdistan Region. With winter fast approaching, many displaced persons, including Yezidis, Christians, and recently displaced people from Kirkuk, Tuz Khourmatu and other areas, will be without critical supplies, specialized assistance, and care provided by UN agencies, NGOs, and other international organizations.
Erbil and Suleimaniya airports are vital to meet the humanitarian needs of displaced people and the basic needs of our general population, including emergency medical evacuation of civilians as well as victims and military personnel wounded in the fight against ISIS. Moreover, restriction of movement is detrimental to peace, stability and progress in a globalized world.
The UN, EU, ICRC and NGOs, and other members of the international community are essential to serve the humanitarian needs of displaced people hosted by the Kurdistan Regional Government. Expeditious travel of their expatriate staff and transport of relief supplies with minimal impact on time and expense are essential to meet humanitarian needs. Recently, flight suspension adversely affected international relief response to a 7.3 magnitude earthquake.
Embargos on international flights are anticipated to have a severe adverse effect on expatriate interest and capacity to continue foreign direct investment that has created many thousands of jobs that are especially important for young people and their families. Without international flights vital to commerce and economic growth, we can anticipate a rapid rise in emigration.
We call on the international community to intercede in urging Baghdad authorities to lift the embargo, without condition, on international flights. The international community’s attention and action would be deeply appreciated in mediating and lifting air embargos and other collective restrictions in order to minimize and avoid adverse effects on vital humanitarian services, health and education services, food security, security against terrorism, jobs and income security in the Kurdistan Region.