Iraqi Christians demonstrate against law change

Nepal News.Net

More than 10,000 Iraqi Christians have demonstrated in the northern Dahuk province, demanding self-rule in their area and a guarantee of representation in provincial councils.

The demonstrators were hoping to present an official memo to the local authorities in Dahuk province to back their efforts.

The Christian group told reporters they would renew efforts to restore Article 50,
which specified a quota for minorities in provincial councils before it was removed from the statutes by the Iraqi parliament and replaced with a new law.

While the new law sets a fixed quota of 25 percent for women, it snubbed other Iraqi minorities such as Christians and Yazidis.

Under the new law, elections will take place in 14 provinces, but not in three northern Kurdish states and the oil-rich multi-ethnic province of Kirkuk.

The new law bans parties from campaigning in mosques and using religious figures to get votes

Some 5,000 Iraqi Christians demonstrated against the change a week ago in Nineveh province.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has expressed his concerns about the removal of the disputed article.

Al-Maliki has called on parliament and the Iraqi High Electoral Commission to address the concerns of the Christians and other groups.

Iraqi Christians constitute some 636,000 of the Iraqi population.

Most of them speak an ancient Aramaic dialect and live in the northern provinces of Arbil, Nineveh and Dahuk.