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 Minorities reserve equal rights in Kurdistan (Part 4)

 Analysis - Opinion  
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Minorities reserve equal rights in Kurdistan (Part 4)  29.3.2010  
By Baqi Barzani, a longtime contributing writer for ekurd.net  

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March 29, 2010

Posed a question in respect to the ubiquitous fears among members of diverse minority groups in Kurdistan in case if Kirkuk and other disputed regions are incorporated into KRG, the then KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani replies as follows:

[7] “First, may I say that I take their concerns seriously, and it is my job in particular to ensure that they will feel secure in a unified Kurdistan Region. Iraq before 2003 had a disastrous history of maltreating its minorities, and indeed its Shia majority. For 35 years Iraq was a Baathist tyranny, dominated by Sunni Arabs. We believe we have already shown that we can. We believe we have already shown that we can do far better than that admittedly low bar”.
“We talk of nationalities, not minorities, and we protect them all, and their rights. In our region, Turkmen, Assyrians, and Arabs have schooling and administration in their own languages. We are proud of our record of religious tolerance – toward all varieties of Muslim, Chaldean, and Assyrian Christians, and our few remaining Jews, and we will always defend our Yezidis from and discrimination, whether by Kurdish Muslims or others. We have shown our willingness to protect those who have fled here from persecution”.

“We will protect personal marriage laws, though we will be vigilant in protecting women’s rights and children’s rights. Second, and more importantly for the future, together with my elected colleagues, and with Kurdistani lawyers and our advisors, we are drafting a constitution for the Kurdistan Region in which I want to see the highest international standards entrenched for the protection of national,
www.ekurd.netethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. Kurdistan must be a land which protects all nationalities. Judge us on that. Kurds will be a majority in Kurdistan, but we know what it is like to be a maltreated nationality, and so we will ensure that our constitution, our laws and our security forces operate to best practices in protecting human and minority rights”.

“Lastly, we have already demonstrated in Kirkuk that we wish to have all nationalities in our coalition lists and to share power at city and local government level. We will continue to do this after unification. We have experience of power-sharing within Kurdistan. We will extend power-sharing. We are open to all suggestions from nationalities and their democratically elected representatives. They will not find me, or my government, inflexible”.
 

Baqi Barzani is a Kurdish citizen of Sought Kurdistan [Iraq]. He advocates the notion of " establishing an independent Kurdish state". He contributes to various Kurdish media outlets, especially ekurd.net.


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