Shabak Kurds fleeing home in the Nineveh plains following ISIS attack on the province in the summer of 2014. Photo: ICSSI
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A Kurdish Shabak group involved in Iraqi politics has asked the Kurdish presidency and Kurdistan Region to include them in the planned September 25 referendum on independence.
Salim Jumaa, head of the Shabak Peaceful Council List in the Iraqi parliament who has sent a message to Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani described Shabaks to Rudaw as “genuine Kurds” and said they should be included in the “future Kurdistan state.”
Jumaa said his people live in areas in the Nineveh plains that fall under Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution and they want to be part of the plan the Kurdistan Region has for independence.
“We would love to take part in the referendum along with our own people,” Jumaa told Rudaw, referring to the people of the Kurdistan Region.
He said they were hopeful that Barzani would approve their call as it is their “right to participate.”
“We want the 140 article to be over,” he said. “We want to return to the Kurdistan state.”
In a meeting with political parties on June 7 Barzani reached a consensus with the majority of Kurdistan parties to pick September 25 as a day people will decide whether or not to stay with Iraq.
He has since insisted that all areas previously called disputed territories will be included in the referendum and their populations will be free to choose to be part of a new Kurdish state or remain with Iraq.
Shabak Kurds live mostly in and around Mosul and they were subject to persecution and massacre by ISIS in 2014.
Karzan Jalal, head of the data department from the Independent High Electoral and Referendum Commission (IHERC) confirmed to Rudaw they were working on providing ballot boxes for people in the outlying areas of the Kurdistan Region such as Shabaks, Yezidis and Christians.
“Preparations for referendum in Kurdistan and areas outside the Kurdistan Region that are controlled by the Peshmerga is easy,” Jalal noted, adding in coordination with Iraqi government, they will put ballot boxes in areas run by Baghdad to “provide security for the voters.”
“We do this for all Kurds,” Jalal said, referring to the Yezdis, Shabaks and Kakais.