Stories from Kurdistan

We Owe Kurds a Great Debt

The following article was originally published in News Guardian.

It was such good news to see the horrific Isis death cult defeated in Mosul.

Its brutality is beyond reasonable comprehension and I am sure we will soon begin to understand that in grim detail.

I recently took part in a major parliamentary debate on the Kurdistan Region.

I have not yet been there, but I have heard disturbing direct testimony about girls who were enslaved and raped multiple times, but somehow managed to escape.

During the debate, I urged the government to help boost the numbers of clinical psychologists in Iraq and Kurdistan in order to help these girls to manage the deep trauma they must be going through.

In addition, I asked ministers to help churches and religious communities in the area that are helping both the internally displaced people and the refugees in Kurdistan.

I also praised the people-to-people diplomacy that is being carried out by the Newcastle-Gateshead Medical Volunteers, who are, quite literally, putting Kurds back on their own two feet through many free hip and knee operations.

The Kurds may well be 2,000 miles away, but their bravery in fighting Isis has been a great and direct benefit to us all.

We owe them a great debt.

And I know how keen they are to have the best relations with us as a nation because they have a deep affection for us as a people, and for our language and our businesses.

The people of Iraqi Kurdistan are voting in a referendum on independence in September.

In light of this, I have backed a cross-party House of Commons motion supporting the right of the Kurds to express their self-determination.

This article originally appeared in News Guardian.

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