Article Guaranteeing Minority Electoral Rights Removed from Iraqi Electoral Law

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quota.JPG  Iraq’s provincial elections law is the newest assault on Chaldean Assyrian Syriac rights in Iraq. The previous drafts, with parliamentary approval, included ‘Article 50’, guaranteeing reserved seats in a quota system for vulnerable minorities, including the indigenous Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Christians. The Elections Law has now passed but Article 50 is gone. This is another reflection of the prejudicial treatment of the Assyrian Chaldean Syriacs and other vulnerable minorities.

We are hoping the United Nations, which is primarily responsible for supporting and monitoring Iraq’s elections process, and the United States Government, will join in our outcry against this removal of our rights. The quota system will allow ethnic and religious minorities to vote for their members filling the reserved seats, ensuring a free and representative voice for the people. Denying the minorities of Iraq to vote for their own representatives is part of a strategic plan by the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to silence the indigenous people of the land. These minorities are the building block of any new Iraq and with out them there will be no true democracy in that region.

By taking away the previously approved quota system, the Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government are adding to the record of prejudicial actions reflecting a deliberate denial of Christian rights. In 2005 elections fraud took place against the Assyrian Chaldean Syriacs without justice. Development in areas such as the Nineveh Plain has been far below the needs of the people. Our people are being denied the chance to develop formal, legitimate local policing but foreign militias to places such as the Nineveh Plain are being brought in from the north. When progress was made and a police force was created earlier this year, they were promptly demoted from local police to property guards, in order to prevent formal policing in the Nineveh Plain.

The problems facing ethnic and religious minorities such as the Chaldean Assyrian Syriacs was clear when the Iraqi parliament refused to require minority representation on Iraq’s independent Supreme electoral commission. Now the hope for these minorities has been shattered. In a free and democratic Iraq, Christians cannot vote for their own representatives and they are being forced to vote for people that have demolished their existence and are annihilating their future.

Is this the policy of the Iraqi government? Is this the policy of the KRG?
Will the United Nations remain silent on this issue?
Will the United States ignore this setback for Iraq’s Chaldean Assyrian Syriacs and other minorities?

Article (50): Grants defined ethnic and religious minorities (that are named in the Constitution) seats in specified provincial councils as follows: Baghdad (3) seats. Kirkuk (2) seats. Duhok (2) seats. Erbil (2) seats. Basra (1) seat. Nineveh (3) seats and(1) seat for Shabaks (1) seat for Yazidies.

The Assyrian Democratic Movement is asking all who care about their people and minorities in Iraq contact their elected representatives and protest this reversal of our rights in Iraq. The Assyrian Democratic Movement, which worked with many other minority political parties to secure these rights will continue to fight. We hope Our Nation will fight back and raise their voices in the United States and other free and democratic countries.

ADM USA & Canada Chapter
 9/25/2008