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Kurds: Syria

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Conservative, Stratford-on-Avon

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the position of the Kurds in Syria. [R]

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Syrian Kurds continue to suffer discrimination by the Assad regime. Although the Syrian authorities recently announced a review of the 1962 census, which had revoked the nationality of thousands of Syrian Kurds, around 300,000 of the 1.7 million Kurds living in Syria are still without citizenship. We hear regular reports of arbitrary arrests, violations of Kurdish property rights, and deaths of Kurds in military service. The teaching of Kurdish is prohibited and Kurdish festivals are disrupted by the security services.

During his meeting with members of Syria's opposition on 21 November, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs urged opposition representatives to unite around a common political platform that will enable the people of Syria to see a pathway to a clear alternative to dictatorship and repression. He particularly stressed the importance of respecting the rights of minorities, so that all Syria's citizens are protected and have a stake in the future of the country.

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