Southern Kurdistan is safer than EU countries

Solin Hacador

By Solin Hacador:

Due to my own experiences and considering European statistics on crime victims, I believe that Southern Kurdistan is safer than European countries.

Kurdistan might not attract many foreign visitors and the reason is a fear for safety. When in Europe we speak about Kurdistan and ask people’s opinions, the first response is “that’s a dangerous country to visit”!

For sure, people have every right to care for their safety. However, it is a pity that too many Europeans or people around the world think Kurdistan is unsafe to visit! This issue makes me worry that Kurdistan is not being well promoted abroad. The media can be partly blamed for this. It has an important influence on people. The majority of people believe the media and rely on its suggestions. The media is interested in publishing about the following: War, terrorist attacks, victims of crime, honour killings, all types of human rights violations, etc. It therefore seems quite rational for foreigners not travel to Kurdistan.

However, I would like to state that all media should be independent and any reporter should present the facts without fear or favor and not seek out praise or shy away from criticism.

Well, I am sure people know too little about Kurdistan and they are not even aware of their poor knowledge.

For example, I was speaking to a group of Latin Americans (from Venezuela, Peru, Mexico and Argentina) about visiting Kurdistan. I was told that they would be safer visiting Iran than Southern Kurdistan. I smiled and asked whether they were aware of the judicial system of Iran and its Islamic administration. They were well aware of it all and I was impressed by their knowledge. The interesting thing is that they know so much about Iran and still think it is safe to go there. This is due to the role of the media which is working to promote Iran in Latin American countries. Iran has Hispan TV, the first Spanish-language channel airing from the Middle East, which is broadcasting news, documentaries, movies and Iranian films 24 hours a day.

As I have stated, people have every single right to care for their safety. Most people know that they shouldn’t walk home late at night or in the early hours of the morning on their own, but in Southern Kurdistan any tourist or local person can, walk safely on the streets 24 hours a day. The security provided by the authorities is highly respected and accepted by Kurdish people.

Public money exchanging, Erbil

Public money exchanging, Erbil

I was surprised in the city center of Erbil to see that people can spread money for exchanging on an open table and nobody steals it. I thought that the money might be fake and asked my friend whether it was genuine. He confirmed that it was and we exchanged our money together. I have never seen this kind of business on European streets. Even banks in Europe have high security systems to protect cash kept at their branches.

If you compare theft in Kurdistan with Europe, then Kurdistan is more secure. Most theft in Europe is of the petty variety, rarely involving assault: the thief does not want a confrontation. However, some thieves are more aggressive than others and they can easily use force to victimize people.

Recently one of the UK’s top insurance companies, Direct Line, released a study that they commissioned regarding the victimization of British citizens who travel outside of the UK. The survey had some interesting results which were reported as follows:

  • More than one in 10 British holidaymakers (12 per cent) have experienced petty theft overseas and a further 27 per cent know someone who has fallen victim to this crime, according to new research from Direct Line Travel Insurance.

Other interesting facts involving victimization of travellers visiting various counties in Europe included:

  • Spain has the highest number of thefts overall, as 38 per cent of Britons who have experienced this crime abroad recently have done so in Spain, followed by France (14 per cent), Italy (seven per cent) and Greece (five per cent).

The progressive elimination of border controls within the EU has considerably facilitated the free movement of European citizens, but may have also made it easier for criminals to operate, especially since the scope of law enforcement authorities and criminal justice systems is generally limited to the boundaries of national borders.

Robbery is a particular type of violent crime, defined as stealing by force or by threat of force. It includes mugging (bag-snatching) and theft with violence. The main reason that people get scared to walk on the European streets is street crimes. It’s not just thieves that you need to be aware of when you’re walking the streets; there are also other people out there who will take advantage of your vulnerability. Sexual assaults are rare crimes, but they do happen.

According to recent crime statistics published by states, while some crime categories are falling in Europe, others are rising:

‘…domestic burglary is a category with a rising trend in the European Union. Compared to 2007, 7% more cases of domestic burglary were reported in 2010”.

According to these reports, and my own observations as an eye witness of both Southern Kurdistan and Europe, I am proudly declaring that Southern Kurdistan is safer than EU countries in term of the risk of crime. The sun is shining brightly and people smile at you with positive energy. Visitors can experience the beauty of Southern Kurdistan without fearing for their safety. Anyone is welcome to enjoy the generosity of the Kurdish people – their culture, history, art, music, dance, food – and the beauty of nature.

Copyright © 2013

3 Responses to Southern Kurdistan is safer than EU countries
  1. Carolyn Thériault
    November 15, 2013 | 15:10

    And yet, the only place I´ve ever lived where my house was burgled was Kurdistan.

  2. Aso
    November 15, 2013 | 16:25

    Well said Miss Hacador , thanks for your kind comment on Kurdistan

  3. Zlatan
    January 29, 2014 | 22:53

    Solin, allow me to ask what on earth are you talking about? So you suggest that Southern Kurdistan is safer than France, Sweden or even Germany? Have you heard about honor crimes? Or when people kill each other for vegetables?

    The title should be addressed properly because what you are stating is your personal opinion.

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