Minority rights are not just slogans

August 7, 2018 at 3:50 pm

A shot from KirkukNow's footage about coexistence, "pluralism is a bliss."

A shot from KirkukNow's footage about coexistence, "pluralism is a bliss."

Khidir Domli
The officials of the Kurdistan region have failed, now for 25 years, to learn how to manage a multi-ethnic, religious, sectarian administration, and they do not seem to learn anyway.
They have been selling, now for 25 years, the image of the region, an oasis of coexistence. Whenever they see foreign diplomats, they boast about minority rights. A closer look shows that they have provided no rights except the ones that are in line with their partisan interest.
They have lost the trust of components and minorities for 25 years, and it’s hard to earn it now. In some accepts, they have backpedalled on such rights.
Their statements never made it into reality, into projects, while they often attempt to convince the public about their clean agenda in this regard.
They had a window of opportunity, to make the region exceptional regarding the rights of the minorities and components. They failed. They boasted a project and propagated a region which never came into existence.

They have lost the trust of components and minorities for 25 years, and it’s hard to earn it now

While the components have a strategic depth for the success of the Kurdistan region, they have been used in narrow political games by the authorities, to fulfil their day-to-day interests.
After 25 years of administration, we are yet to see a valid example of “preserving cultural rights of the components”. We fail to see an education system which considers their traits. We cannot see a fair representation of different religions in the relevant institutions.
The project first failed in parliament, due to the political rivalries of the ruling parties. The ruling parties adopted a strategy to make puppet representation out of the components, to further serve their expansive agendas. They became a mouthpiece of the minorities, while they had thousands of things to say.
An example of this is that all parties claim to favour providing a quota seat for the Ezidis in the next tenure of parliament. No party has ever come forward with a project to do so. Such a step would benefit them.
Even the existing quota representatives could not support such an idea, a call too tricky for them to make.

Minority rights cannot be earned through slogans; it requires projects and initiatives

While the law number 5 of 2015 of (Protection of Minority Rights in Kurdistan-Iraq) could be used as a firm base to further such projects, no party has ever worked on this law. It withers away and fades, like many other progressive projects.
Minority rights cannot be earned through slogans; it requires projects and initiatives. Hundreds of workshops and conferences have been held over such a case; none could impact the officials to change their momentum on this issue.
The minorities could only feel like a part of this project if they have real representation in the highest institutions of the land; if they genuinely feel home in the Kurdistan region.
Such officials come and go while the minorities remain. Such officials will change their faces, but the minorities remain true to their native land and belief. The two cannot conciliate unless the officials come up with a project that addresses the rights of the minorities, implemented right away.

Khidir Domli
– A researcher and specialist in the crisis resolution, peacebuilding, and media.
– A researcher of minorities in Iraq.
– A member of the Duhok University’s Ashti Research Centre

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