October 11, 2015

KRG Representative speaks to Kurdish leaders at 27th Annual Kurdish National Congress of North America

Toronto, Canada (us.gov.krd) – ‘Kurdish communities in Canada and the United States should not underestimate their effectiveness in lobbying their governments in support of Kurdistan. Our unity and dedication to Kurdistan is our strength,‘ Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman told the audience gathered in Toronto for the 27th annual Kurdish National Congress of North America on October 10, 2015.

The yearly event brings together Kurdish leaders from across North America, experts, academics, and Kurdish community members to discuss pressing issues facing the Kurdish community in diaspora and the state of affairs in various parts of Kurdistan.

Speaking on the panel alongside Representative Abdul Rahman was Jason Kenney, who serves as both the Canadian Minister of National Defense and the Minister of Multiculturalism. Minister Kenney has attended numerous Kurdish cultural events in past years. Abdullah Mohtedi, leader of the Komala political party based in Iranian Kurdistan also spoke on the panel. KNC Vice President and Chairman of the Toronto Kurdish House moderated the discussion.

Representative Abdul Rahman thanked Minister Kenney for Canada’s support to Kurdistan in the fight against ISIS saying, ‘Canada plays a critical role in training our brave Peshmerga, so that that they can continue the fight against ISIS’.

Minister Kenney said that Canada would seek to establish a consulate in Erbil and continue support for the Kurdistan Region.

Since August 2014, the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces have been engaged with ISIS terrorists along a 600-mile front. Canadian troops help train Peshmerga in a camp near Bashiqa and assist in the Coalition Joint Operations Center in Erbil.

Mr Mohtedi spoke about Kurds in Iran, and praised Canada for its active role in humanitarian issues.

Representative Abdul Rahman also called on Canada and the international community to provide more support to the UN and NGOs as they struggle alongside the KRG to contain the humanitarian crisis. Today, over 1.8 million Syrian refugees and internally displaced Iraqis have found shelter from violence in the Kurdistan Region. The economic, social, and political impacts of their presence on the Kurdistan Region have been profound. As UN funding stagnates at a fraction of its 2015 requirements, the situation for many in need grows more dire by the day.

She said, ‘We Kurds understand the desperation of being a refugee, and we will continue to host those that ask for sanctuary. It is the moral responsibility of the international community to do the same, and to provide whatever funds they can to help alleviate the suffering of these innocent men, women, and children.’

The Kurdish community in Toronto holds several cultural events each year and maintains the Greater Toronto Kurdish House as a gathering place for Kurds. Also in attendance was Lucy Yusoyan, founder of the Yezidi Relief Fund and numerous distinguished members of the Kurdish community.

See pictures of the event here.
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