Syrian Kurds reject UN envoy’s paper, say it ignores Kurdish rights

ARA News 26 March 2017 – The Kurdish National Council (KNC) on Friday rejected a paper on Syrian political solution issued by Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria published. The paper, released in early March, calls for a local administration in Syria.

“The non-paper’s reader must assume Syria to be solely Arabic. The first principle, as it speaks of Syria as “one people”, can’t be understood differently,” said Kamiran Hajo, Chairman of the Committee for External Affairs of the Kurdish National Council in Syria.

“After this introduction, the commitment to ‘cultural diversity’, expressed later on in the non- paper, seems comparably weak and not very convincing – especially, since the term ‘ethnical diversity’ has been explicitly avoided,” the KNC politician Hajo said.

The KNC is also worried about how state power is divided according to de Mistura’s proposal. “Unfortunately, we only find a bare list of catchwords here, whereas it stays entirely open, what ‘local self- administration’ is intended to mean, for instance,” Hajo said.

“This wording leaves everything possible, from administrative decentralisation in line with the Syrian government under Bashar al- Assad’s lead, up to federal arrangements,” he said.

The Kurdish National Council has explicitly called for the creation of a federal Kurdistan region in Syria, while the rival Democratic Union Party (PYD) has called for non-ethnic federal region for Northern Syria.

Furthermore, the KNC is concerned about an explicit commitment to minority rights and Kurds’ rights.

“Even though we consider the Syrian Kurds as a nation and not as a minority, it is obvious, that a clear commitment to the minority rights chartered by the UN is indispensable for the prevention of ethnic discrimination, not only of the Kurds,” Hajo said.

“Neither the issue of the Golan Heights, nor environment protection are of any relevance to the success of the transition process at this point of time,” the KNC’s Hajo said.

“Finding a solution for the ‘Kurdish question’, however, is definitely of high significance. This issue, though, is in no way considered in the non-paper; the interests of up to 15 per cent of the Syrian people are being categorically ignored,” he said. “Due to the outlined reasons, the Kurdish National Council in Syria cannot identify with the non- paper. Furthermore, we want to point out that we expect an explicit commitment to the Kurdish issue’s relevance for a peace settlement by both the Syrian opposition – our associates – and the UN,” Hajo stated.