Languages: Kurdî ‏سۆرانی‎


The Convention of the Kurdistan National Congress KNK

(Endorsed 26th May 1999, Founding Assembly; Amended 23rd August 2000, Second Assembly; 17th December 2001, Third Assembly; 21 December 2002, Fourth Assembly; 14th May 2006, Sixth Assembly; 13th-14th December 2008, Ninth Assembly.)

We the representatives of parties, political, social and cultural organizations and patriotic individuals of Kurdistan, assembled on the 26th May 1999, and signed this declaration, for the purpose of forming a higher body of the Kurdish people to protect the interests and unity of the nation of Kurdistan.

The Colonial Occupied Status of Kurdistan:

Kurdistan is an international colony in the Middle East. To the great cost of the Kurdish people Kurdistan remains divided into four parts by the repressive colonialism of the states of Turkey, Iran and Syria. The Kurdish nation is oppressed by these occupying and colonialist states and is denied all national and democratic rights. Likewise the policies of war, annihilation and denial continue to be pursued through various distinct means all over Kurdistan.

The official borders of the new Iraq present an opportunity to reclaim rights: within Federal Iraq a Federal Kurdistan. However the policies and position of the de facto central federal Iraqi government in general towards Kurdistan and the national rights of the Kurdish nation are potentially dangerous. For this reason a greater national awakening must be achieved.

The Kurdish people have existed throughout history as one nation based on the unity of their land, language and culture in the land of Kurdistan. They have common national feelings, hopes and demands for a free and better future. The ancestors of the Kurds made clear contributions to the formation of civilization in the Middle East. The Kurds throughout history ruled many states which existed under different names. They also created numerous principalities in different regions of Kurdistan. In the twentieth century they became an oppressed nation and were denied their fundamental rights especially after the division of Kurdistan among four states. This forced the Kurds to resort to all forms of struggle to protect their national identity. Despite all threats, the Kurdish nation remains one of the four main nations in the Middle East after Arabs, Turks and Persians.

The Situation of the Peoples of Kurdistan

Assyrian-Syriac-Chaldean, Armenian, Jewish, Arab, Turkmen, Azeri, Turkish and Persian minorities also exist in Kurdistan. These minorities are constituent parts of the nation of Kurdistan. Their freedom and liberation is tied to the freedom and liberation of the Kurdish nation. Thus the peoples of Kurdistan must join together and mobilize against the aggressive colonialist system. Their common interests lie primarily in the destruction of the colonialist system and they must struggle as one and unite their efforts in an unambiguous spirit of nationhood.

The Position of the Occupying States

The occupying states vacillate in their relations with each other according to their own national interests. Yet on one issue relating to these interests they unite and coordinate their actions. This is the issue of Kurdistan and the Kurdish people’s movement. At times the occupying states create and implement their own anti-Kurdish policies in an individual manner; and at other times they undertake coordinated anti-Kurdish actions in close cooperation with each other.

Kurdish Reaction to the Occupiers

It is right that the Kurdish national movement behave in a unified and coordinated manner in the national interest against this cooperation. Characteristic divisions within the Kurdish nation have not been overcome but they have been weakened. Nevertheless the occupying states exploit these tensions among ourselves and use them against the Kurdish people’s national movement. Kurdish national forces must oppose this policy of the occupying states and not allow themselves to be split along artificially imposed divisions, but rather enforce defensive links between themselves. In the destruction of this policy of the occupiers Kurdish forces struggle behind a united national front. This is the new characteristic of the Kurdish resistance.

Decision on the Right to National Self-Determination

In the context of conflict and with the current internal and external circumstances numerous opportunities emerge for the future of the national movement of Kurds and Kurdistan.

The Kurds have the right to decide on the form of their national self-determination. This may take the form of autonomy, federalism, confederalism or independence. In the fight to achieve such objectives the Kurdish nation asserts its right to implement all forms of defense. Nevertheless, the Kurdish nation rejects the use of terror in the struggle for freedom, equality, justice and fairness and abides by all international human rights declarations.


The Kurdish nation, comprising almost 45 million people who have been living throughout history on their land, have, since the start of the twentieth century, been oppressed, divided and denied their right to national self-determination. This is contrary to international law, international charters for human rights and all international judicial and natural principles. For the sake of achieving and practicing the right to self-determination and the preservation of our national identity, we announce this declaration and make it clear that by doing so we abide by the international charter of human rights, international declarations and judicial principles.

Part One: The Congress, Kurdistan, the Nation of Kurdistan, Main Rights and Sovereign Rights

Point 1: The Congress

a- The Kurdistan National Congress which will be referred to hereafter as the “Congress” in this Declaration is the highest national establishment, it consists of representatives of political parties, social, cultural and religious establishments of Kurdistan and independent individuals, as long as they all approve the declaration.

b- The will and interests of the people of Kurdistan is the source of authority of this Congress, which is established on a democratic basis.

Point 2: Kurdistan and the Nation of Kurdistan

a- Kurdistan is the homeland of the Kurds, on which they live with all their religions, sects, dialects and different accents. It consists of all the interlinked regions where the majority of the inhabitants are Kurds. Kurdistan is one country and its division is artificial.

b- The demographic changes of Kurdistan by forcibly removing the people of Kurdistan from any region and bringing other people in their place, as well as reducing them in numbers in regions by the occupying countries, is an unjust act and can never be accepted.

c- The Nation of Kurdistan consists of the following:

1. The Kurdish Nation

2. The Assyrian-Syriac-Chaldean nation and other nations such as Armenians, Turkmen, Arabs, Turks, Jews, Azeris and Persians whose historic existence pertains to Kurdistan and who regard themselves as people of Kurdistan.

Point 3: The Principal Rights

a- The people of Kurdistan are all equals and in no way are they discriminated against in the social sphere on the basis of their race, language, religion, sect, belief or gender.

b- The Kurdish language is the official language in Kurdistan.

c- Those who are non-Kurds but part of the nation of Kurdistan, have the rights to preserve their special identity, to develop their languages and dialects freely, and to form and manage establishments to develop their culture.

d- In those areas where the majority of its people are Assyrian, then along with the Kurdish language the Assyrian language is also official.

e- All adherents of religions and sects in Kurdistan may freely practice their religions, observe their religious obligations and establish their religious organizations.

Point 4: The Right to Self-Determination

The nation of Kurdistan, like all other nations, has the right to self-determination.
(Amendment, 23rd August 2000, Second Assembly)

Similarly, the Assyrian-Syriac-Chaldean nation has the right to self-determination.

Part Two: The General Principles, Objectives and Strategic Position of the Congress

Point 5: The General Principles

a- The Congress takes international human rights law, the principle of the right to national self-determination and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which conforms to these principles, as the bases of its foundation

b- Gender equality is a fundamental principle among the members of the Congress. This is demonstrated in all projects, all committees and all council pertaining to the Congress.

c- The division of Kurdistan has occurred against the will of the nation of Kurdistan and their right to national self-determination has been denied.

d- The principal interests of the people of Kurdistan are above all the interests of parts and political parties of Kurdistan.

e- Under no excuse or pretext may any party, establishment or individual cooperate or work with any occupying countries of Kurdistan or any other country against the interests of the Kurdish nation.

f- The Congress regards all kinds of cooperation with any occupying countries of Kurdistan against the national liberation movement as an act of treason.

g- The Congress condemns any conflict among the parties and organizations of Kurdistan.

h- No party, political organisation or individual may abandon any part of Kurdistan.

Point 6: The Objectives of the Congress

a- For the sake of strengthening cooperation and the common struggle among the parts of Kurdistan, the Congress works on the basis of national unity and the main interests of the people of Kurdistan.

b- By the inclusion of parties, organizations, and patriotic individuals of Kurdistan within its framework, the Congress represents the people of Kurdistan.

c- The Congress tries to find solutions to the internal problems, and the elimination of all the contradictions among the parties and political groups of Kurdistan and their supporters.

d- The Congress tries to solve the problems among the people of Kurdistan and the neighboring countries peacefully and in a friendly manner.

e- The Congress rejects all forms of violence, but supports defensive measures.

f- The Congress recognizes the social reality of Kurds and Kurdistan, and supports and implements the principle of positive discrimination towards women’s participation in all its activities, projects and organizations.

g- The Congress supports the national liberation struggle of Kurdistan in all parts (Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria) and regards the provision of any kind of necessary support for the sake of achieving political organisation as its duty.

h- The Congress, as a representative establishment of the people of Kurdistan, works on an international level for the sake of obtaining and maintaining its interests and for this aim cooperates with the political organisations of Kurdistan.

i- The Congress tries to strengthen alliances among the people of Kurdistan and the Arab, Turkish, Persian and all other nations of the world.

j- The Congress supports the preservation of freedom and liberation for all the religions, sects and beliefs in Kurdistan.

k- The Congress works for the revival and progress of the Kurdish language and culture.

l- The Congress tries to achieve peace in the Middle East and the world, as well as working against all forms of discrimination and extremism.

Point 7: Strategic Position regarding the National Struggle

The national forces should be agreed on the following points:
1. The democratic national interest is given the highest priority.

2. The existence of the nation will be defended and preserved and the symbols of the nation will be respected.

3. In the fight against the occupying colonialist states there can be no deals with external organisations that could undermine the unity of the struggle.

4. No matter the opinions of the various national organizations, they must always remain in dialogue with each other.

5. Support for the national forces is recognized at the highest levels.

6. Kerkuk and all the borders of Kurdistan will be defended against the occupiers by all means and in a united manner.

7. Internal conflict among the national forces will be regarded as treason.

8. Should a party to the national struggle become aware of a failure or wrongdoing on the part of another party to the national struggle, the former must issue a warning to all national forces who will actively and openly defend the national interests and put an end to the wrongdoing.

9. In order that democratic national unity may continue, bodies such as civic platforms, congresses and others should be established.

Part Three: Congress Membership and Oath

Point 8: Membership
(Amendment 23rd August 2000, Second Assembly)

a- Any Kurdish person over the age of eighteen, regardless of belief, gender or nationality, may become a member of the Kurdistan National Congress.

b- Fascist or reactionary individuals and organizations may not become members of the Congress.

c- Individuals convicted of a crime may not become members of the Congress. Any serving member convicted of a crime will be expelled from membership.

d- Individuals who practice polygamy may not become members of the Congress. Any serving member who practices polygamy will be expelled from membership.

e- Individuals and organizations which harm national unity through their actions may not become members of the Congress. Serving members who do so will be expelled from membership.

f- Those parties, organisations and patriotic independent individuals who have participated in the founding assembly of the Congress and endorsed its declaration are members.

g- Parties and political organisations who have no members in the Congress can become observer members; and can express their opinions in meetings but have no rights to vote.

h- The General Assembly can agree on new members.

i- The parties, organizations and the establishments which are members of the KNK can change their representatives within the KNK in the same way that they nominate them for it.

j- The Congress decides that each party, establishment and organization may have a certain number of members and may decide the way they are represented as well as the election of independent members.

k- The General Assembly is to follow a particular procedure to elect its members in future.

Point 9: The Oath

a- All members of the General Assembly take the oath and the provisional committee of the General Assembly decides on the way the oath is taken.

b- Below is the oath:
I swear on my honour that I will always defend the interests of the nation of Kurdistan and work for the progress of the people of Kurdistan; I will abide by the Declaration of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK).

Part Four: The Organs of the Congress

Point 10: The Organs of the Congress
(Amendment 13th-14th May 2006, Sixth Assembly)

1. The General Assembly

2. The Executive Board
a- The Committee for Foreign Affairs
b- The Committee for Women
c- The Committee for Language, Education, Culture and the Arts

3. The Disciplinary Council

Point 11: The General Assembly
(Amendment: 13th-14th May 2006, Sixth Assembly)

a- The General Assembly is the highest organ of the Congress, it consists of 135+15 (these 15 members pertain to the Executive Board) =150 members. It is elected for two consecutive years and convenes a normal assembly meeting annually. At the request of the Executive Board, the General Assembly can change the number of members.

b- An Emergency meeting can be held at the request of the Executive Board or one-fifth of the General Assembly’s members.

c- The General Assembly can meet and make decisions if more than half of its members are present.

d- In its general meetings, the General Assembly elects a Chairperson, two deputies and two minutes takers for the panel.

e- The General Assembly, at the request of one-fifth of its members, or of the Executive Board, can call by simple majority for re-election before the end of its term.

f- The General Assembly, at the request of one-fifth of its members, or at the request of the Executive Board, can decide to extend its term once, provided that the extension does not exceed one year.

Point 12: The Duty and Authority of the General Assembly
(Amendment: 13th-14th May 2006, Sixth Assembly)

a- The election of the Chairperson, members of the Executive Board and members of the Disciplinary Council.

b- Endorse or reject the projects presented by the Executive Board or by the members of the General Assembly.

c- Amendments to the Declaration of the Kurdistan National Congress may be enacted with the votes of a simple majority of the members of the General Assembly.

Point 13: The Presidency
(Amendment: 13th-14th May 2006, Sixth Assembly)

a- The Chairperson of the Congress represents the Congress and is responsible to the General Assembly.

b- The Chairperson of the Congress is elected by the simple majority at the General Assembly. At the first two turns if no co-opted members get more than half of the votes, at the third turn, the two co-opted members, managed to get the highest votes, can participate and whoever gets the highest vote gets elected.

c- The Chairperson of the Congress is elected for two consecutive years.

Point 14: The Executive Board
(Amendment: 13th-14th May 2006, Sixth Assembly)

a- The Executive Board is responsible to the General Assembly and the Permanent Council.

b- The Executive Board is the managing organ which implements the decisions of the General Assembly and the Permanent Council, it manages all the other Congress affairs.

c- The Executive Board consist of 15 persons (the Chairperson and 14 members)

d- Members of the Executive Board are elected for two consecutive years by the General Assembly.

e- The Executive Board elects among its members four deputies to the Chairperson, a spokesperson, and heads of committees.

f- The Executive Board manages the information, economic and financial affairs.

g- The Executive Board holds its normal meeting every three months.

h- The Executive Board holds emergency meetings at the request of the Chairperson or one-third of its members.

Point 15: The Duties and Authority of the Executive Board
(Amendment: 21st December 2002, Fourth Assembly)

a- Implementing the decisions of the General Assembly.

b- Arranging activities to achieve the objectives of the Congress.

c- Finding solutions to the problems and disagreements among the parties and political groups of Kurdistan.

d- Preparing the draft budget of the Congress and presenting it to the General Assembly.

e- Preparing necessary projects and suggestions to the General Assembly.

f- The Executive Board can form sub-committees if necessary.

Point 16: Withdrawing Assurity and Electing a New Chairperson

a- The Executive Board is responsible to the General Assembly.

b- The General Assembly can withdraw its assurity from the Chairperson and the Executive Board by simple majority.

c- 1/5 of the General Assembly’s members can request the withdrawal of assurity from Chairperson and the Executive Board.

d- In the case of death or resignation of the Chairperson, the General Assembly holds emergency meeting to elect a new Chairperson.

Point 17: The Committees of the Congress
(Amendment: 13th-14th May 2006, Sixth Assembly)

a- All the committees referred to in the second paragraph of point ten may consist of 7 or fewer members.

b- The heads of committees are elected among the committee members, who are elected among members of the General Assembly, who are in turn elected by the Executive Board for two consecutive years.

c- These committees hold their normal meetings quarterly, the head or one-third members of the committee can request emergency meetings.

d- Members of these committees are unable to act in more than two committees.

e- The head of each of these committees present their plans and projects for endorsement to the Executive Board.

Point 18: The Duties and Authority of the Committees
(Amendment: 13th-14th May 2006, Sixth Assembly)

Each of the following committees is responsible to the Executive Board for the achievements of the objectives set in this declaration.

1. The Committee for Foreign Affairs: Implements its duties with regard to foreign relations in cooperation with the Executive Board.

2. The Committee for Women: Works for the liberation of women and the advance of women’s rights.

3. The Committee for Language, Education, Culture and the Arts

a. Supports the necessary plans and projects for the progress and development in the fields of education, culture and art in Kurdistan.

b. Works to develop and advance the arts, culture and education in and outside Kurdistan.

c. Works to preserve the Kurdish dialects, but strives to form and develop a united national language.

d. Promotes education in the Kurdish language and works with and coordinates all the organizations working in this field.

Point 19: The Disciplinary Council
(Amendment: 13th-14th May 2006, Sixth Assembly)

a- The Disciplinary Council consists of five members and two deputies, members of the General Assembly, and elected by the Assembly for two consecutive years.

b- The members of the Disciplinary Council cannot work in any other organ of the Congress.

c- The members of this Council elect a Chairperson and a deputy among themselves for two consecutive years.

d- The decisions are endorsed by the majority of its members’ votes.

e- For a disciplinary matter, the Executive Board can call for a Council meeting.

f- The decisions of the Disciplinary Council are as follow:

1. Rejecting requests of the Executive Board.

2. Warn or caution the defendant.

3. Suspending the membership of a defendant for a specific period.

4. Canceling the membership of a defendant from the Congress permanently.

g- The complainant and the defendant can take the final decision of the Disciplinary Council to the General Assembly.

Part Five: Solving Problems and Disputes among the Forces of Kurdistan

Point 22: The Means of Solving Problems and Disputes

1. The Congress tries to find solutions to any political problems and disagreements among the forces in Kurdistan by promoting dialogue and negotiation for the sake of achieving national peace.

2. If a problem escalates to a clash and an armed conflict, the Congress tries to eliminate disagreements as follows:

A. Demand an end to the conflict and the use of arms against each other.

B. The Executive Council warns the party that does not agree to end the armed conflict that its stand is against the national interest.

C. If this party persists in its stand without considering the request of the Executive Council, the Council takes the necessary stands against the party in question and for clarity, after investigation, presents a report by an independent committee whose chair and members are specified by the Executive Board.

Part Six: A Few General Points:

Point 23: The Time and Place of Establishment

The General Assembly held its first meeting on 24-26 May 1999 in Amsterdam, Holland, and after negotiation, endorsed this declaration of the Kurdistan National Congress.

Point 24: The Congress Venue

a- The Congress and its organs reside temporarily in Brussels until the return to Kurdistan.

b- The Executive Board can change the venue of its establishment.

The General Assembly of the Kurdistan National Congress
26th May 1999