MERI Recommends Councils for Ethnic and Religious Minorities in Kurdistan Region of Iraq

MERI recommends Councils for Ethnic and Religious Minorities to protect the rights of minorities in the Constitution and their partnership in the system of governance.

In a special report submitted to the Constitution Committee on (Monday, August 10, 2015), The Middle East Research Institute calls for the protection and enshrining of the cultural, educational, linguistic and religious rights of ethnic and religious minorities in the Kurdistan Region’s Constitution and reiterating their equal partnership and participation in the system of governance. MERI believes, this will further strengthen the social bonds among Kurdistan Region mosaic communities towards building a stable country under the umbrella of a civil and democratic constitution for all.

In the report, MERI recommends the establishment of two councils:

  • Council for Ethnic Minorities to represent Turkmen, Arabs, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Armenians
  • Council for Religious Minorities to represent Yezidis, Christians, Kaka’is, Zoroastrians, Sabean-Mandaeans and Baha’is

The purpose of the two councils is to officially and genuinely represent their communities in the Parliament and the governing institutions with active participation in the legislation, decision-making and implementation and follow up process. The two councils submit consultations, recommendations and suitable projects related to the issues and problems of the ethnic and religious minorities to the Parliament and Kurdistan Regional Government. They are to be partners in drafting legislations, strategies and long-term planning and to follow up the implementation process in cooperation with government and non-government institutions. It is also the responsibility of the two councils to submit special report(s) about the situation of minorities to the Parliament, Government and the public in every three months.

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About MERI:  The Middle East Research Institute is Iraq’s leading policy-research institute and think tank. It is an independent, entirely grant-funded not-for-profit organisation, based in Erbil, Kurdistan Region.  Its mission is to contribute to the process of nation-building, state-building and democratisation via engagement, research, analysis and policy debates.

MERI’s main objectives include promoting and developing human rights, good governance, the rule of law and social and economic prosperity. MERI conduct high impact, high quality research (including purpose-based field work) and has published extensively in areas of: human rights, government reform, international politics, national security, ISIS, refugees, IDPs, minority rights (Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen, Shabaks, Sabi mandeans), Baghdad-Erbil relations, Hashd Al-Shabi, Peshmarga, violence against women, civil society. MERI engages policy- and decision-makers, the civil society and general public via publication, focused group discussions and conferences (MERI Forum).
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