7-18-2007 Assyrian International News Agency
(AINA) -- Margareta Viklund, chairwoman of The Swedish committee for Assyrians, visited north Iraq from April 29 to May 7, 2007. Her mission was to assess the needs of Assyrian (also known as Chaldean and Syriac) woman in the Kurdish dominated areas of north Iraq. Ms. Viklund visited several Assyrian cities and villages. Her report (English, Swedish) reveals pervasive discrimination of Assyrians -- especially women -- by Kurds.
In the city of Arbel, Kurdish authorities offered Assyrian women "higher salaries than they could have on the open labour market if they stayed at home and took care of their children themselves. In this way the biggest Kurdish party 'bought' votes ahead of the important elections."
Similarly, in the town of Baghdede "the women are given a 'salary' which is often higher than what they would get if they went to work. They must sign a contract which says they bind themselves not to cooperate with any other organization than the one which gave them the salary, the KDP [Kurdistan Democratic Party]."
Pressure to support the KDP also comes in the form of "study programs." The report says "[Assyrian women] told us of a study course organized by the opponents for women wanting to become nurses. The participants were persuaded during the entire course to leave the Assyrian women's organization and join theirs."
A female resident of the Assyrian town of Bartilla says "The Kurds buy members, infiltrate, invade and they have a clear purpose. They give big amounts of money to individuals and organizations. Those who work with them can receive several millions. They know the ADM [Assyrian Democratic Movement] represents the Assyrian people and therefore they want to destroy the organization."
The report concludes by saying "the aim of the largest Kurdish party, the KDP, with its strategy and double messages, puts an incredible strain on the people who are vulnerable both economically and in other ways."
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