KNC: 15 per cent of the Syrian people are Kurdish

During a press stakeout on June 29, 2016, the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura claimed that “the Kurds […] represent at least five percent of the Syrian population”. This assertion settles the percentage of Kurds amongst the Syrian population far below common reliable estimates which alternate between 10 and 15 per cent according to the UNHCR and Human Rights Watch, and 15 percent according to the Kurdish National Council in Syria. [1] [2]

The Kurdish National Council in Syria strongly rejects this reduction of the role of Syrian Kurds. Stating this false estimate plays into the hands of the Syrian regime which suppressed and persecuted the Kurds for many decades. The Syrian regime even tried to reduce the numbers of Syrian Kurds by stripping them of their citizenship (census of 1962), an injustice causing severe disadvantages for these Kurds and their predecessors.

By the above mentioned statement the UN Special Envoy is again downplaying the role of Syrian Kurds in the process of building the future of their country. During the Geneva III talks the Kurdish National Council in Syria as part of the High Negotiations Committee delivered a number of publications to correct the false assertion by Staffan de Mistura that there would be no Kurdish participation in Geneva; moreover, the KNC repeatedly urged the UN Special Envoy to recognize the Kurdish participation in the peace talks – but he never did. Likewise, he turned down all offers to hold technical talks in order to get to know the perspective of the official Kurdish representatives to the talks.

Thus, this needless stating of an incorrect population figure – even though he tried to qualify it by adding “at least” – just cherishes the doubts about the UN Special Envoy’s impartiality which were expressed before by several groups.

The KNC disapproves the above quoted baseless statement by the UN Special Envoy and calls for a public correction as well as for the recognition of the already existing Kurdish contribution to the peace negotiations of Geneva III.

The KNC demands that the United Nations Organisation recalls the impartial and humanitarian role it is supposed to play.

[1] The UNHCR reports in the ‘World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples’ that Kurds make up 10 to 15 percent of whole the Syrian population.
[2] Human Rights Watch