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Committees' recent meetings - 25 June 2020

A summary of Kurdistan Parliament's committees' recent meetings and activities:

Finance and Economic Affairs Committee

23 June – The committee, led by the chair Ziyar Jabbar (PUK), met to assess the economic situation and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) decision to cut by 21% salaries of government employees (who receive more than 300,000 dinars per month and are not among the high paid grades, the latter’s pay cut is 50%).

The KRG made the decision in the wake of the economic crisis caused by Baghdad withholding Kurdistan’s government employees’ salaries, the Coronavirus pandemic and the fall in the oil price.

The committee believe that for all such decisions, the KRG should coordinate with the Kurdistan Parliament, particularly with the Finance and Economic Affairs Committee.

They also discussed the need for the KRG to monitor retail prices and other prices, as the committee believes that with the government pay cut, prices of goods should be cut as well particularly for everyday necessities.

On the Reform Law which the KRG has said it will start to implement from July, the committee has asked the KRG to clarify the implementation steps, as per an agreement that the KRG will report an update to Parliament every three months.

The committee will ask the Diwan of Supreme Audit to provide as quickly as possible an examination of the KRG’s debts.

The committee commended the KRG’s decisions to stop customs and tax exemptions for oil companies, better organize border gates and reduce expenditure, but they want more details about what has been carried out so far and how this will increase government income.

The committee decided to ask the KRG for a meeting to look into the KRG’s strategy and its recent decisions.

Social Affairs and Protection of Human Rights Committee

21 and 22 June - Members of the committee went to Slemani, Erbil and Duhok to visit men’s and women’s prisons and young offenders’ institutions. They discussed with the prisons’ directorates the prisoners’ rights, living conditions and problems, and how the prisons are implementing the health and interior ministries’ Coronavirus containment measures.

The MPs also met with prisoners and promised to convey their demands to the relevant authorities.

The committee members also decided to convey the directorates’ needs and requests to the relevant authorities.

The committee members and prison directorates discussed how the spread of the Coronavirus has been contained in prisons by suspending prison visits and prisoner’s parole.

The prison directorates of Erbil, Slemani and Duhok said that they are doing all they can to have the necessary Coronavirus prevention materials and are facilitating more phone calls between prisoners and their families.

Relations and Kurdish Diaspora Committee

20 June – The committee issued the following statement condemning attacks by Turkey and Iran inside Kurdistan Region that have killed innocent civilians:

Unfortunately Kurdistan Region is caught in attacks and bombardments by Turkey and Iran. The committee condemns in the strongest terms these attacks by the neighbouring countries, among which attacks by Turkey on PKK positions killed and injured innocent civilians who are citizens of Kurdistan Region.

These attacks cause material and human losses, and international conventions are clear on the rules of conduct of armed conflict and preventing loss of life. Our citizens must not be the victims of countries that are in conflict with Kurdish forces, and all sides must respect the sovereignty and people of Kurdistan Region, who have the fundamental right to be free from fear as they go about their daily lives.

We convey our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims and wish for the speedy recovery of those who have been injured.

We call on the governments of Turkey and Iran to stop these attacks immediately and to respect Kurdistan Region’s sovereignty.

Endowments and Religious Affairs Committee

15 June – The committee sent their condolences to the Yazidi community on the death of Kamaran Khairy Saeed Beg, representative of the Yazidi Mir (prince) and a well-known figure in the Yazidi spiritual and social community.

Committee on Kurdistani Areas outside KRG Administrative Area

14 June – The committee in a statement condemned ISIS attacks on 13 June on the Kakai villages of Mekhas and Dara in Khanaqin, in the Kurdistani areas outside the KRG administrative area. The Kakai are a Kurdish religious minority who have often been the target of ISIS attacks.

The committee called on the Kurdistan Regional Government to prioritise the need to improve security in the disputed territories in its talks with the Iraqi Federal Government, and to insist on coordination between Iraqi security forces and the Peshmerga to fill the security vacuum.

The committee also called on all Kurdish political parties to overcome their differences as soon as possible in order to tackle the many injustices, problems and lack of security facing Kurds in the disputed territories.