On March 20, the following letter was sent by the leaderships of the WORKER COMMUNIST PARTY OF IRAQ (WCPI) and WORKER COMMUNIST PARTY OF IRAN to Antonio Guteres, president, and Luis Ayala, secretary-general of the Socialist International. The letter has been abridged.
Within the last month, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in Iraq, led by Jalal Talabani, has launched a campaign against the WCPI, other popular institutions and political activists.
On February 16, the armed forces of PUK raided the homes of three high ranking cadres of the WCPI — Ammar Sharif, Fahid Nasser and Yousif Mohammed. The three, well-known figures in the struggle against Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime in Iraq, were arrested and are at this moment imprisoned in the PUK's jails.
Furthermore, the activities of the Centre for Defence of Children and the Centre for the Defence of the Aged have been severely hampered by restrictions imposed by the PUK security forces.
On March 5, the self-proclaimed PUK government, through its "Interior Ministry", began court proceedings to ban all the WCPI's activities and those of its affiliated organisations. The writ and other documents explicitly attempt to deny the most basic political freedoms and human rights.
In its application to the court, the PUK cites the WCPI's efforts to change the harsh laws and regulations against women, the party's propaganda for the separation of religion and state, and its struggle against Islamic fundamentalism as reasons for the party to be banned.
The PUK calls northern Iraq an "Islamic society" so as to be able to suppress any progressive and freedom-seeking movements, to please Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups and to strengthen its ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
It should be mentioned that only a few years ago, the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, with the help of the PUK, attacked the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan in Iraqi Kurdistan. About 400 members of Iranian opposition groups active in Iraqi Kurdistan have been murdered by the security forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran and other terrorist groups associated with it. In addition, hundreds of women have been murdered.
According to the PUK, it is illegal for our party to struggle for equality between men and women, to campaign against the unjust laws of the Baathist regime, against Islam, and against the presence of Iran's forces. We are said to be committing crimes when campaigning for a referendum on the future of Kurdistan.
The PUK has announced that on April 4, on its own initiative and under its own control, a trial will be held to prohibit the activities of the WCPI based on the PUK's writ.
The WCPI has made every effort to resolve the issues involved politically but the PUK has refused to accept any political solution. The Worker Communist Parties of Iraq and Iran and the radical and freedom-seeking front in the region intend to resist and neutralise the conspiracy with all political and practical means at their disposal.
This situation is directly relevant to you and your organisation. The PUK claims to be a social-democratic party. It is supported by the Socialist International and its representatives are invited to its congresses. Mr Talabani delivered a speech to your recent 21st congress.
The Socialist International should take the necessary steps to stop the oppressive and dictatorial policies of the PUK, review its relations with it and condemn its recent actions against the WCPI and other organisations.
Rahman Hossein Zadeh, member of the leadership of the Worker Communist Parties of Iraq and Iran, and secretary of the Kurdistan Committee of the Worker Communist Party of Iran.
[Green Left Weekly readers are urged to send a message to the Australian Labor Party, the Australian affiliate to the Socialist International, demanding that the SI protest the actions of the PUK. Members of trade unions affiliated to the ALP are also asked to urge their unions to send letters.
[E-mail protest messages to the ALP's international secretary, Senator Sue West, at <email@example.com> or post to PO Box E1, Kingston ACT, 2604. Senator West's phone number is 1800 818 107. Protest messages can be sent directly to the SI by visiting <http://www.socialistinternational.org>.
[Protest faxes can also be sent to the PUK's London office at +44 171 840 0630, or in writing to 5 Glass House Walk, London SE11 5ES, Britain. Protests can also be sent to the PUK's Washington office, fax +1 202 637 2723, or write to PUK USA, 444N. Capitol Street, NW, suite 837, Washington DC, USA.]