UNAMI Human Rights Office supports the reinstatement of Faili Kurds citizenship

Baghdad, Iraq – On 29 May 2019, UNAMI’s Human Rights Office (HRO) in Baghdad convened the second roundtable discussion on the rights of minorities in Iraq, in line with its mandate to support the Government to fulfil its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

The discussion was aimed at enabling a structured forum for advocacy on the implementation the CERD Committee recommendation made to the Government of Iraq in January 2019, to accelerate the process of reinstating the citizenship of some Faili Kurds which was lost in the 1980s.

Participants included government representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior; Iraq High Commission for Human Rights as well as representatives of the Faili Kurd minority community.

Danielle Bell, Chief of UNAMI HRO welcomed the ‘discussions to lay the foundation for the development of concrete strategies which will enable the Government of Iraq to fulfill its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination’.

Participants proposed strategies such as working with line ministries, IHCHR, High Judicial Council, Civil Society and the UN to: i) amend the Iraqi Nationality Law to remove the requirement to present records of the 1957 Census as proof of Iraqi nationality; ii) advocate for the creation of an electronic database for the Faili Kurd 1957 census records in the Ministry of Interior instead of reference to old tattered physical files; iii) in the alternative to census records, reference should be made to academic, employment and property records to prove Iraqi citizenship; iv) advocate for the creation of a committee in Ministry of Interior dedicated to Faili Kurd citizenship; v)raise public awareness against reference to Faili Kurds as Iranians and vi) enactment of a law specific to Faili Kurds issues.

HRO will use these strategies to advocate with relevant stakeholder, to remove discriminatory civil documentation procedures in reinstating citizenship to the Faili Kurds by encouraging the removal of administrative obstacles.

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  • Agency: UNAMI

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