IRAQ: Parliamentary committee of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian MPs visits Kashkawa village on case of illegal encroachment on Suraye villages

KASHKAWA, Iraq – A parliamentary committee including four Suraye Members of Parliament in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) visited the Suraya village of Kashkawa, Nahla region, to follow up on the illegal encroachments on the village. The aim of the visit was to discuss the conditions of the Suraye in the Nahla region in general and the transgressions against the village of Kashkawa in particular.

The case of Kashkawa revolves around more than 2,000 dunams of Kashkawa lands and property illegally appropriated by Kurds. A recent lower criminal court decision ruled in favor of the Kurds in September after which the Duhok Court of Appeals overruled the lower courts’ ruling of the case in October and said the case needed to be re-investigated.

Nahla valley in northern Iraq.

The committee includes MPs Romeo Hakkari, Robina Litari (National Union Coalition), Klara Odisho Yaqub (Assyrian Syriac Chaldean Popular Council), MP Farid Yaqub Eliya (Rafidain / Assyrian Democratic Movement), and Zakari Zebari (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan). Their two-day visit comes by decision of the Presidency of the KRI Parliament after four Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian MPs submitted on November 24, a memorandum to the Presidency in which the current members of the committee demanded the Presidency to take up the matter seriously and task a parliamentary committee with following up on the case and hear both sides.

In Kashkawa, the committee spoke with the involved Suraye families who brought the case before the MPs and heard and recorded their statements about the illegal encroachments. The delegation met with the Kashkawa mayor and villagers about their history in the village – the village of Kashkawa has been inhabited by Syriacs since the 1920s. The Suraye villagers told the committee that they had never abandoned their village and provided the committee with official documents that prove the validity of their legal claims to the lands and property and handed over written decisions of official agricultural committees since the 1950s. After hearing the two sides, the committee promised that Parliament will follow up with all relevant authorities in order to find a just solution.

The next parliamentary elections in the KRI and Iraq will take place next year on June 6. A year ahead of schedule.