Jeremy Corbyn: Kurdish ‘right to self-determination must be respected’

September 22, 2016
Corbyn addressing the September 15 meeting.

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told a meeting in London on September 15 that the Kurdish people’s right to self-determination needed to be recognised, Firat News Agency said the next day. The meeting was organised by the British Kurdish People’s Assembly.

Commenting on the Kurdish question, Corbyn said: “I have always said, if there will be a peace process and solution, [Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah] Öcalan must be free and at the table. We will continue working for this.

“The Trade Union Congress, the umbrella organisation of all unions in the UK made a very important decision in this regard. A huge campaign is being run for the freedom of the Kurdish people and Öcalan. This is a significant development.”

On the conflict in Syria that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, Corbyn said: “A political solution must be found to end the Syrian war. The Syrian peoples' rights must be assured and the rights of the Kurdish people must be recognised.

“I have been following Kurds closely for years, I know their history. Their identity was rejected as of the 1920s. Their national rights were denied and rejected with the Sykes–Picot Agreement and other conventions led by international powers that have their eyes on those lands.

“Today, we are still facing the problems caused by these agreements. Kurds have always been denied … If peace is wanted in the region, the Kurdish people’s right to self-determination must be accepted. Our main motto on this subject is ‘peace, human rights, justice and democracy’.

“I have been to Kurdistan many times and witnessed the injustices there personally. On this matter, the British government must base its foreign policy on human rights, and make efforts serving the peoples’ cultural and political rights and self-government.”

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