25th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou

14 July 2014

Message from the Secretary General of the Socialist International to the meeting at the House of Commons in London marking the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Kurdish leader Dr. A.R. Ghassemlou

Dear friends,

Yesterday, July 13, marked the 25th anniversary of the assassination in Vienna of Dr Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, the Secretary General of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, along with his comrade, Abdullah Ghaderi Azar and Iraqi professor Fadhil Rassoul.

Three weeks before, Dr Ghassemlou had headed the PDKI’s delegation to the 18th Congress of the Socialist International, which brought together leaders and representatives of social democratic, socialist and labour parties from different parts of the world, held in Stockholm. His vision, commitment and dedication to the cause of the Kurdish people, and indeed for democracy and human rights in Iran, was well known to our progressive movement. He was a man highly respected, who through his efforts and courage made the struggle of the Kurdish people for rights and freedoms a common cause with that of the quest for democracy and for the rights and the freedoms of all people.

Many of those who during that time were living the democratic revolutions which ushered in a new era for the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe; or those living the struggles for democracy in other parts of the world, like in Latin America, Africa, and in Asia, came into contact and got to know better the reality, hopes and aspirations of the Kurdish people in their various countries through the efforts of leaders such as Dr Ghassemlou, and others such as his successor as Secretary General of the Party, Dr Sharafkandi, later also tragically assassinated, on 17 September 1992, following his participation at the 19th Congress of the Socialist International in Berlin.

We in the Socialist International know well from our own experiences and struggles around the world, that it would not be possible to build a society of rights for all people if there is no recognition of all the diverse groups within society, with guarantees of equal rights for all citizens. We know from our experiences that the common way forward for democracy to flourish and for peace to be achieved is the respect of all freedoms for all groups. Without guarantees of equal rights for all, space is created for sectarian divisions and extremism to grow.

As we can see today, in many conflicts that affect countries in different parts of the world, it is always innocent people who suffer the results of these divisions. That is why in our International, Kurdish parties have a place, as we recognise that the Kurdish people have to be granted their rightful voice in the decisions which affect the future of their country.

That is why we stand alongside the Kurdish people and all the democrats who are today seeking a future of peace and freedom in Iran. For the same reason, we have firmly rejected the creation of an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and called for a government of national unity with guarantees of pluralism based on equal rights for all citizens, including of course the Kurdish people. With those same principles and values in mind, we are standing today alongside the Kurds, as indeed all groups who are suffering in Syria, mobilised in the struggle for freedom and democracy.

Solidarity is an expression of our identity and has always guided our proposals and policies. It directs us in our fight for equality and in our struggles against all forms of discrimination and oppression.

For the members of the Socialist International, Dr Ghassemlou’s legacy is a key component on the road to advancing today’s efforts to strengthen and consolidate the voice of the Kurdish people in his native country, as everywhere. The work that he set out to do is not yet accomplished and our International will continue to denounce all forms of repression against the Kurds and to support multilateral efforts to advance and protect, in accordance with international law, the rights, security and improvement of the living conditions of the Kurdish people – all of which Dr Ghassemlou represented and represents today.

Luis Ayala
Secretary General