Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Iraq: plight of minority groups, in particular the Iraqi Turkmen

Delivered in Plenary - 14th March 2013

Mr President

10 years after the allied military intervention, the Iraqi people sadly continue to be victims of violence and disorder on a depressingly regular basis.

The recent massacres of Turkmen and Kurdish citizens demonstrate the deeply troubling extent of the problem, far beyond the simple Sunni-Shia faultlines. I, for instance, have for many years expressed my concerns with regard to Christian minorities in the country, and in particular the Assyrians, who continue to suffer systematic oppression.

Iraq was not a nation state based around any one ethnicity, and the multiple cultural, national and religious identities of its citizens could in principle be a source of strength in its diversity.

We in this House must, therefore, take the opportunity to ask the federal government to do all it can to help minority groups. The new High Commission for Human Rights is a positive step, and we must commend the Kurdish regional government in particular, which must be allowed maximum autonomy for what it does to try and help.

Above all, the government in Baghdad must treat human rights as its guiding principle, and must afford much better security for all the minorities in Iraq. We in the EU must stand ready to assist our Iraqi partners wherever we can.