Kurds cast vote in independence referendum

Kurds in Iraq on Monday morning began casting their vote in a referendum on independence. Voting began at 8am local time and will end at 6pm. The results are expected to be announced in 72 hours. The deputy prime minister, Qubad Talabani of the Kurdistan Regional Government was quoted by Rudaw as saying, "I congratulate the people of the Kurdistan Region. Today is a historical day." "It is the beginning of a struggle today in which we hope after a talking process with Iraq, with our neighbors, friends and rivals, to be able to reach our nation's objectives, be able to fulfill the dream that...

Kurdistan warned of failed partnership with Iraq in 2015 - Barzani interview

Kurdistan’s president Masoud Barzani reiterated that his people will to not be “subordinates” to Baghdad. Noting that he told the US president in 2015 that Kurdistan’s partnership with Iraq had failed, Mr Barzani stressed that the landmark independence referendum was not a pressure card but a first step towards genuine sovereignty for the Kurdish people. Speaking to The Guardian on Friday the Kurdish President stressed Iraq failed to function as a federal parliament and was ‘chauvinistic’ in nature, stating, “From world war one until now, we are not a part of Iraq. It’s a theocratic,...

UN Sec-Gen meets with Kurdistan Foreign Minister ahead of independence referendum

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres met with Kurdistan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday. A United Nations statement released after the meeting said the meeting involved discussions on the upcoming referendum, the national reconciliation process and the passing of a UN Security Council resolution to hold ISIS accountable for its crimes. The meeting took place after Kurdistan’s president Masoud Barzani addressed a 40,000 rally on Friday to mark the end of the official referendum campaign reports ruddaw.net. Simultaneously,...

Outgoing prosecutor calls out Syrian ambassador on chemical weapons in farewell speech

An outgoing member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria slammed international inaction over war crimes in the country, before directly telling Syria’s ambassador his government had used chemical weapons, in a farewell speech in Geneva this week. Veteran prosecutor Carla del Ponte stated that she had resigned “to put an end to my frustration”. Speaking after the Commission of Inquiry presented its latest report, Ms Del Ponte told the council “We could not obtain from the international community and the Security Council a resolution putting in place a tribunal, an ad hoc tribunal for all...

Palestinian human rights groups submit Israeli war crimes dossier to ICC

Four Palestinian human rights organisations have submitted a dossier to the International Criminal Court which details alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli security forces in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. "This communication, which is based on factual information collected by the four organisations, covers the following crimes against humanity in accordance with the Rome Statute: murder, deportation or transfer of population, persecution, apartheid," one of the group's representatives told Al Jazeera. In a statement released on Wednesday the...

UN Security Council authorises investigative team to collect evidence of IS crimes in Iraq

The UN Security Council on Thursday authorised the establishment of an investigative team to collect, store and maintain evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by Islamic State in Iraq. A resolution, which was drafted by the UK and asks the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres to create such a team, was adopted by all 15 states of the Council. The team will be led by a Special Adviser, who will be appointed by Mr Guterres and will have an initial mandate of two years. The use of any evidence for trials or other investigations would “be determined in agreement...

UK suspends financial aid to Myanmar’s military

The British government has suspended financial aid to Myanmar’s military in response to the ongoing violence against the Rohingya community, reports BBC News. The Ministry of Defence said it had suspended £300,000 of funding on Tuesday. “In light of the ongoing violence… and our deep concern about the human rights abuses that are taking place, we have decided to suspend the educational courses provided to the Burmese military until there is an acceptable resolution to the current situation.” On Monday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson condemned the ‘barbaric’ violence against the...

Spain arrests Catalan government officials ahead of independence referendum

Spain’s police raided Catalan government offices and arrested 12 senior Catalan officials in attempts to stop an independence referendum that is due to take place on October 1, reports the Guardian. Speaking after an emergency ministerial meeting in response to the arrests, Catalan’s president said, “We reaffirm our peaceful response. The Spanish government has crossed a red line and become a democratic disgrace. Searching public bodies and arresting officials for political reasons is a democratic scandal. We defend Catalan institutions.” A spokesperson for Catalan’s regional government...

Myanmar leader denies becoming soft on military

Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday rejected criticism that she had become soft on the military, stating she had never been critical of the military, only their actions. Asked by Radio Free Asia if she had softened her view on the military, she replied, "we’ve never changed our stand." “Our goal has been national reconciliation from the very beginning. We have never criticised the military itself, but only their actions. We may disagree on these types of actions.” “We’ll continue to bring changes within the parliament. I’ve stood firm with the military before, and still do now."

Kurdistan removes obstacles for diaspora votes in independence referendum

Kurdistan’s Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission (IHERC) removed a major obstacle to diaspora voters on Monday, reports Kurdstan24.net. Though the diaspora is available to vote online, the need to produce certain documentation, a ration card, has been of concern for those in the diaspora. In a press conference on Monday the spokesperson of the IHERC said that the ration card has been removed from the required list of documents for those looking to register online and currently living outside of the region. A total of over 5 million people are currently eligible to vote in the...

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