British MPs yesterday launched a report on their most recent fact-finding visit to the Kurdistan Region at a press conference in the UK parliament. The MPs concluded that although Kurdistan has to urgently overcome some defects, it is an inspiring success story in the making which deserves stronger support.
Meg Munn, the Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Kurdistan Region, said, “What we are seeing is the development of democracy in Kurdistan and it isn’t a straight forward process. Kurdistan has an awful lot to offer the region in terms of democratic processes while it moves forward itself.”
Ms Munn said the group met many organisations and individuals during their visit in June and looked into the protests in Suleimaniah earlier this year. “We are not resourced to hold an inquiry into what took place but we talked to lots of people. Our view is the government needs to continue to reform and needs more independent institutions, while there needs to be a better understanding of the role of the opposition. We look forward to Kurdistan continuing to develop.”
Nadhim Zahawi MP, the group’s Co-Chair, said, “The future of Iraq lies in a truly functional federal system. The rest of Iraq can learn from Kurdistan’s example. It isn’t perfect but is one that is beginning to deliver to the people.”
Robert Halfon MP, Vice-Chair of the group, commended Kurdistan’s efforts to reform its education system. He said, “The all-party group will ask the UK government to continue funding the Rawabit partnership scheme to improve vocational education throughout Iraq.”
He also said, “Kurdistan seems to be the most religiously tolerant nation in the Middle East. This is an important model for other countries to follow and we should support it.”
Commenting on a recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on the media in Kurdistan, Mr Halfon said that the report was hyperbole and diminished HRW’s credibility.