Dear comrades and dear friends,
What started in Syria as an uprising against the regime of Bashar Al Assad, has now become a full-fledged war involving a myriad of actors and providing fertile ground for the rise of the Islamic State (IS). Conflicts erupted in Iraq, Yemen, Libya and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.
The Syrian conflict has triggered the largest humanitarian crisis in the world since the Second World War. The humanitarian needs are growing, population displacements are intensifying, and an entire generation of children is exposed to the war and violence, more and more private of basic services, of an education and a protection. This has led many of our social democratic leaders to call for unity and solidarity in order to find common answers. This solidarity should start within Europe, but it should also apply to those countries in the Middle East that are carrying the heaviest burden of the refugee crisis. Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan have taken up scores of refugees, putting their already fragile population balance at risk.
The causes and consequences of the current refugee crisis affect us all. We need to work together to come up with structural, humane and progressive solutions addressing the current situation. Considering in the perspective that the current the campaign to oust ISIS from Mosul could trigger an exodus of up to a million civilians into Iraqi Kurdistan, we want to deepen the reflection within with our broader family in Sulaymaniyah through an international conference, Iraqi Kurdistan, hosted by PUK.
This is why under the initiative of the PES, the Progressive Alliance, the GPF, the Olof Palme International Center, SOLIDAR and the Arab Social Democratic Forum will put their hands together to organise the conference; “The challenges of ending the conflict – Defending freedom from terror, Protecting refugees, and Promoting democracy”. The conference will take place in Sulaymaniyah, on 11-12 December 2016.
We are confident that you will find this initiative of priority and interest and look forward to meeting you in Sulaymaniyah.