Author Archives: Jwamer Bakhtiar Mustafa

Many British Kurds will be voting for the Liberal Democrats on 12th December.

In recent years British Kurds have been increasingly interested in and attracted to the Liberal Democrat vision for a liberal, tolerant and open society. This trend continues to grow with many reaching out with questions on party policy and how they can help elect a liberal government.

The UK 2011 national census revealed that approximately 48,000 British people had identified themselves as Kurdish under the ethnicity self designation question, although the number of British Kurds is thought to be considerably higher today. Kurds constitute a significant diaspora in the United Kingdom and across the rest of Europe, Kurdish homelands are located in south eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, eastern Iran and northern Syria.

British Kurds have historically been politically active but often through necessity rather than choice, periodically taking to the streets of Europe’s capitals whenever Kurdish lives or rights  were perceived to be under threat in the Middle East. Recent examples include rallies in London, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris in opposition to the Turkish military offensive against Kurdish administered area Rojava in Syria.

A pivotal factor in garnering support is our clear Lib Dem stance on foreign policy issues, formulated in part by members of Federal International Relations Committee, and the active support of legitimate Kurdish rights by prominent party leaders including the late Lord Ashdown who in 2014 called the UK to “Support the Kurds by all means we can”, and Liberal Democrat MEP Irina Von Wiese who worked on getting a strong EU response to Turkey’s incursion in 2019. This record has been and will continue to be key in winning votes, especially in London where the 2011 census informs us that over 20,000 Kurds reside.

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ALDE Party Congress – a first time delegate’s thoughts

In the shadow of the ancient Athenian acropolis where Aristotle and Socrates once lectured on ideas that would go on to change the world, Hans van Baalen, president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE) launched the organisations 40th congress under the banners “mission is possible” and “liberal renaissance”. His audience included delegations from 67 full and associate member parties, as well as individual members who had assembled from across the European continent.

I had applied to the International Office upon learning of the exciting opportunity to attend the ALDE party congress as a Lib Dem …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged | 3 Comments
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