Kurdish leaders urge protection of nation’s rights on 54th March 11 Agreement anniversary

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — Today marks the 54th anniversary of the March 11 Agreement, a pivotal moment in Kurdish history, prompting Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani and Prime Minister Masrour Barzani to call for the protection of the Kurdish people’s constitutional rights within Iraq.

In separate statements, both leaders underlined the significance of the agreement, which marked the first acknowledgment by the Iraqi government of the rights of the Kurdish populace.

“Let us seize this anniversary in the Kurdistan Region as an opportunity for political parties to come together, overcome challenges and conflicts, and collectively address the obstacles and accomplishments. It is crucial to safeguard the constitutional rights, the entity, and the federal status of the Kurdistan Region,” stated President Barzani.

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the paramount importance of protecting Kurdish constitutional rights and the integrity of the region.

“The Kurdish people will never tolerate the violation of their rights nor accept oppression, and do not allow Iraq to regress into the era of dictatorship and authoritarian rule,” Prime Minister Barzani affirmed.

The March 11 Agreement, also known as the Iraqi–Kurdish Autonomy Agreement of 1970, was a landmark pact between the Iraqi government and Kurdish leadership aimed at resolving the longstanding Kurdish–Iraqi conflict.

Signed on March 11, 1970, following the first Iraqi–Kurdish war, the agreement proposed the establishment of an autonomous Kurdish region within Iraq. This region would encompass three Kurdish governorates and other adjacent districts with a Kurdish majority as determined by a census. Additionally, the plan granted Kurds representation in government bodies and official recognition of the Kurdish language.

Despite its initial promise, the agreement faltered due to the Iraqi government’s failure to fully implement its terms, persisting in policies perceived as oppressive by Kurds. This led to the outbreak of the second Iraqi–Kurdish war in 1974.

“The Iraqi government’s withdrawal from the agreement later unleashed a series of continuous wars, destruction, disasters, and instability that continue to affect Iraq and its people to this day,” President Barzani lamented.

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