The Kurds' situation in relation to
the Iraq crisis was the topic of a press seminar held at the Norwegian
People's Aid Head Office in Oslo in the beginning of March.
The following questions was among the
issues raised at the seminar:
- In what way will the Kurdish self-governed
areas in northern Iraq be affected in the event of a military attack on
- The situation as regards mines in the
- The Kurds' position in the conflict
between Iraq and the USA, and the fight for a democratic Iraq.
People's Aid has been working in the self-governed Kurdish areas in northern
Iraq since 1995. Since that time, we have been involved in the clearance
of mines and explosives from one of the world's worst mine-infected areas
and contributed to the reconstruction of Kurdish villages which were all
but levelled to the ground by the Iraqi army in the 1980s. Today, Norwegian
People's Aid has about 90 employees in northern Iraq, and supports a range
of local, non-governmental organisations in areas such as democracy and
human rights, literacy, the battle against violence towards women and income
creation initiatives. In this, we are supporting a process of democratisation
and strengthening of civilian society that is wholly exceptional in Iraq.
Owing to the possibility of war, Norwegian
People's Aid is working with the local Kurdish authorities and local humanitarian
organisations to be able to receive and give shelter to any internally
displaced refugees from the Kurdish towns and areas south of the Kurdish
The issues was covered by:
Ketil Volden, adviser for the Middle
East, and Per Nergaard, Head of Mine Action Unit. The seminar was led by
Ivar Christiansen, Head of Information.