A meeting between the High Referendum Council and representatives of the minority groups living in the Kurdistan Region including Turkmen, Christians and Armenians. Photo: Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Minority groups living in the Kurdistan Region, including Turkmen, Christians and Armenians, submitted a 50-point petition to the High Referendum Council (HRC), calling for the protection of their rights and the allocation of positions in a future Kurdistan state.
The Turkmen have also said that they should hold the position of deputy president of Kurdistan.
“Among the underlying points, we asked to be involved in the leading positions including the presidency, government, parliament, and judiciary council,” Jawdat Najar, an MP from the Turkmen Development faction in the Kurdistan parliament, told Rudaw.
In the petition presented to the HRC, “we asked the position of the deputy president to be given to the Turkmen nation," Najar added.
The minority groups want to receive guaranteed protection of their political and cultural rights, including the free practice of religion, before the declaration of a Kurdistan state.
Yirwanet Nyssan Markos, an Armenian MP from the Kurdistan parliament, said they want “A civil state to be established and for ethnic and religious groups to feel confident” in their religious, cultural, and language rights.
The HRC, working to organize the September 25 referendum and lay the foundation of the Kurdistan state, has guaranteed minorities that the new state will be for all, on equal basis.
“All the demands were reasonable and logical,” Khalil Ibrahim, a member of the HRC from the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) told Rudaw.
The discriminatory actions of Iraq against the Kurdistan Region in the past should not be practiced in a future Kurdistan state, Ibrahim added, stressing that the rights, languages, and identities of the minorities must be preserved.
The HRC has appointed a coordinator to work with minorities to prepare a document that sets out the rights they want to have in a future independent Kurdistan. After an August 23 meeting, the council released a statement saying they were prepared to offer guarantees that secure minority rights.
“The meeting fully believes in real partnership between the national and religious components of Kurdistan and supports all types of guarantees to secure their rights,” the statement read.
The HRC, chaired by Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani, set the September 25 referendum date in a meeting on July 7 at which representatives of minority groups were in attendance.
The Kurdistan Region president has on several occasions said the future Kurdistan state will be federal.