A young Yezidi girl stands near her family and the tent where they live on Mount Shingal. File photo: Hannah Lynch/Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court has ruled that the Yezidi minority must have more seats in the country’s parliament, reflective of the size of the community.
“The decision has been made that the Yezidi minority deserves the number of seats that corresponds with their population in parliamentary elections according to reliable official statistics based on article 1/49 of the constitution, which states that the parliament consists of representatives, one seat per one hundred thousand population,” the court announced in a statement on Wednesday.
Currently, there is just one Yezidi member of parliament.
MP Vian Dakhil helped to draw international attention to the Yezidi genocide when she made an impassioned plea in the parliament for help when Yezidis were fleeing their homes around Shingal as ISIS militants moved into the area.
She welcomed the court decision, stating that this means there should be five Yezidi representatives in the parliament as the minority numbers more than 500,000 in Iraq.
The Yezidi activist group Yazda reacted to the ruling, stating “We hope that all blocs in parliament and our friends and partners push for implementing this ruling,” not only to increase Yezidi quotas in the parliament but on provincial councils as well.
The executive director of Yazda, Murad Ismael, recently expressed anger over the matter, saying it was “discriminatory” that the community had just one parliamentary seat.
In a series of tweets in late December, Ismael argued that failures to bring justice to the Yezidi community that suffered genocide under ISIS were connected to unfair representation of the minority within Iraq’s institutions.
“Iraq has 4000+ general directors and 700+ ministers by position, yet there is only about 5 Yezidis in all these positions. The Iraqi system has never been fair to Yezidis and this has to change after this Genocide!” he tweeted.
Rights groups have noted many flaws in Iraq's prosecution of ISIS
militants, including leaving victims out of the justice process. Dakhil has slammed the government for failing to invest
in reconstruction of Yezidi communities ravaged by war. There have also been reports of revenge killings
of persons allegedly involved in crimes against Yezidis.