Iraqi Kurdistan’s Human Rights Commission
Still Not Established
Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Nearly two years ago the
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) conceived of a
Human Rights Commission to replace the dissolved
Ministry of Human Rights. The commission, however,
has never been established.
Tavga Omar Rasheed, a former official at the
Ministry of Human Rights, said the government has
not explained why the commission is not functioning
“There are rumors that the government may have
changed its mind about dissolving the Human Rights
Ministry,” Rasheed said. “But they have not told us
anything officially yet.”
The Kurdish government currently does not have an
institution to officially address human rights
issues. Meanwhile, international groups like Human
Rights Watch have issued reports on human rights
violations in the Kurdistan region.
“Many human rights violations are committed,”
Rasheed said, “but there is no office or institution
where people can go and report their cases.”
The dissolved Ministry of Human Rights had 10
branches in Kurdistan and around 370 employees. Over
the past two years, the KRG has spent approximately
3 billion Iraqi dinars on rent for the ministry’s
branches and staff salaries even though they have
not performed any duties.
Rasheed said her ministry worked hard to train its
staff, but over the past two years most have
transferred to other government jobs. Rasheed said
she and her colleagues have reached out to the KRG
several times in the hopes they will be reinstated
in their former jobs.
Three months ago, Kurdistan’s Parliament formally
asked the KRG to explain what had happened to the
proposed Human Rights Commission.
Kardo Muhammad, an MP from the opposition Change
Movement, told Rudaw, “We asked the government about
the Human Rights Commission and they said they have
some reservations about the laws of the commission.
They [said they] would work on it and send the draft
to Parliament for revision.”
Muhammad claimed the government “thinks Parliament
is a government institution,” Muhammad said. “The
government is obliged to carry out parliamentary
Regarding the dissolution of the Human Rights
Ministry, Muhammad said, “The government cannot
change its mind about it. Only Parliament has the
power to pass a new law to recreate the ministry.”
Independent human rights activists are frustrated by
the lack of progress and believe the KRG isn’t
serious about forming a Human Rights Commission.
Ali Kareem, the head of Kurdish Human Rights
Institute said, “It is upsetting that the government
has not been acting on a parliamentary decision for
Kareem also said it is equally important that
commission members are independent.
In February, the Public Aid Organization held a
conference in the Kurdish capital Erbil to discuss
the establishment of the human rights commission.
head of PAO, said the prime minister and Parliament
Speaker once met to discuss the commission, “but
they just do not follow up with it.”
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