|Iraq's Kirkuk Problem and Article 140: Defining Alternatives|
| The conference Kerkuk Problem and Article 140: Defining Alternatives, The Views of Kerkuk's Turkmen and Arabs was organised by the Iraqi Turkmen Human Rights Research Foundation (SOITM) and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), and held at the European Parliament in Brussels on 23 June 2008.|
This conference was organised with the aim of giving voice to various groups afflicted by current frustrations in Kerkuk as well as to raise awareness of their rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in Iraq. This was considered especially important at a time when tensions in northern Iraq are rapidly rising, particularly in reaction to the failure to realize the constitutionally mandated referendum at the appointed date at the end of 2007 on the future status of the oil rich city of Kerkuk. With the process of reversing the demographic distortions imposed under Ba'ath Party rule clearly stalled, affected parties are desperate to solve what has become the 'Kerkuk Problem' and to foster stability and security in the region.
All parties to the conflict profess an interest to a peaceful resolution - surely the only option for the people of northern Iraq following decades of persecution and violence under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. A prevailing atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion, fuelled by violence and chronic insecurity, continues however to undermine the possibility of meaningful and constructive dialogue between the conflicting parties. The Iraqi Turkmen and Arabs feel particularly frustrated by the political process that has followed the fall of Ba'ath Party rule. Their leaders have felt excluded from a number of political decisions that appear set to determine the region's future. Furthermore these mechanisms aimed at creating stability have proved largely ineffectual or unrealized.
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