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Committees' recent meetings - 14 April to 28 May 2023

A summary of Kurdistan Parliament committees' recent work and meetings, from 14 April to 28 May 2023:

Social Affairs and Human Rights Committee

30 April 2023 – The committee discussed the rise in cases of autism in the Kurdistan Region reported by organizations and decided to follow up on the issue.

The committee drafted their report on the Bill on Prohibition of Torture and Ill-Treatment in the Kurdistan Region – Iraq, which was proposed by MPs and had its first reading at the sitting of 1 March.

They replied to correspondence and raised some of it with Parliament’s Presidency and relevant authorities for further follow-up.

14 May 2023 - The committee met to follow up on the consultative meeting chaired by Speaker Dr. Rewaz Faiq on the Bill on Prohibition of Torture and Ill-treatment in Kurdistan Region - Iraq and the Speaker’s request that the committee draft the bill’s final report.

The committee consolidated all the proposals and redrafted the bill for its second reading at a future sitting.

The bill had its first reading on 1st March.

24 May 2023 – The committee visited Yousef Ali, a very ill prisoner, who has asked the President of Kurdistan Region to pardon him on health grounds. The committee spoke with him at length and decided to report on his condition and raise his request.

28 May 2023 - The committee met with Solidarity Center, a US-based international worker rights organization that is active in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

The committee chair thanked the Solidarity Center for supporting workers, syndicates and unions in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region and for providing technical expertise and training.

The organization gave recommendations on how to improve workers’ rights and safety, including awareness-raising campaigns, training of inspectors and workers’ social insurance.

Martyrs, Genocide and Political Prisoners Committee

14 April 2023 - The committee issued this statement on the 35th anniversary of the Anfal genocide of the Kurds:

During its 35 years of criminal rule, the Ba'ath regime inflicted enormous suffering on the Kurdish people, without the least regard for the most basic human rights or religious and humanitarian principles. After forced displacement from villages, the genocide of the Faili Kurds and of Barzanis, and the chemical attack on Halabja, in 1988 in eight stages the Iraqi Ba’ath regime continued the genocide of the Kurds in a campaign that they named the Anfal, the ‘spoils of war’. Their crime covered Kurdistan from Garmian to Badinan. In totally, 182,000 civilians were killed, some buried alive in mass graves.

This crime against humanity was declared a genocide by the Iraqi Supreme Criminal Court in 2008. We call on the Iraqi government to make reparations to the families of the victims of the Anfal campaign of genocide and to rebuild their areas. We call on the Kurdistan Regional Government to pay greater attention to their areas and ease their suffering.

May the souls of the Anfal victims, and all the martyrs of the Kurdistan liberation movement, rest in peace.

16 May 2023 – The committee issued the following statement on the Iraqi national Day of Mass Graves:

Today we solemnly remember all the victims buried in mass graves in Iraq. The mass graves are a stark reminder of the Iraqi Ba’ath regime’s unprecedented, brutal crimes against women, children, men, young and old from Kurdistan and central and southern Iraq of all ethnicities, religions and sects. The mass graves have come to be synonymous with the Ba'ath regime and dictatorship in Iraq.

The Kurds were the first and greatest victims of the Iraqi Ba'ath regime’s campaign of slaughter and burial in mass graves. The Failis, Barzanis, Anfal victims of Garmian and other parts of Kurdistan were buried in mass graves, some while still alive. Tragically the Yazidi Kurds became the latest victims of genocide and burial in mass graves in Iraq, at the hands of ISIS in 2014.

Mass graves embody war crimes and violations of international law since the early 20th century in the Geneva conventions, and later under international humanitarian law. Burial in mass graves is a desecration of the dead, the deprivation of respectful individual burial by the deceased’s families. Those responsible must be brought to justice.

It is the responsibility of the Iraqi government to exhume the remaining mass graves using the proper legal and forensic methods, to identify the victims and repatriate them to their homeland, make reparations to their families, rebuild their destroyed areas, and take the necessary steps to make Iraq a party to the international agreements that prevent the repetition of such crimes, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

We bow our heads to the souls of the martyrs buried in mass graves, and all the martyrs of Kurdistan’s liberation movement.

Endowments and Religious Affairs Committee

19 April 2023 - The committee conveyed best wishes for the Yazidi New Year:

We extend our best wishes to Yazidi Kurds for a Happy Yazidi New Year (Red Wednesday).

We reiterate the importance of maintaining the culture of peaceful coexistence among all Kurdistan’s religious and ethnic communities, of preserving Yazidi culture, restoring peace, prosperity and stability to their areas, and healing their wounds.

20 April 2023 – The committee conveyed best wishes to Muslims at the start of the holy month of Ramadan:

We congratulate Kurdistan’s Muslims on the advent of the holy month of Ramadan. We ask God to accept everyone's fasting and prayers and bring peace and joy to all. We hope that this holy month becomes an opportunity to achieve a rapprochement and solidarity of the parties, to overcome the obstacles, provide greater service to the people of Kurdistan, preserve our achievements and protect Kurdistan’s highest interests.

2 May 2023 – The committee discussed the importance of strengthening the culture of mutual acceptance, tolerance and moderation so that Kurdistan Region remains a haven of pluralism and peaceful coexistence among all religious and ethnic communities, and to ensure that the rights and freedoms of citizens of every faith and ethnicity continue to be protected.

The committee decided to ask the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs about the arrangements for this year's Hajj pilgrimage.

They replied to correspondence and raised some of it with Parliament’s Presidency for further follow-up.

8 May 2023 – Members of the committee visited the College of Islamic Studies of Salahaddin University in Erbil.

At the meeting with the academic faculty, the committee congratulated Dr. Jamil Ali Rasul on his appointment as the dean of the college and wished him success.

They discussed the college’s role in teaching the true message of Islam, love and solidarity between all people. The committee stressed the importance of spreading the culture of peaceful coexistence, strengthening pluralism and tolerance and protecting human rights, equality and the freedom of all Kurdistan’s communities.

The college staff asked that the authorities benefit from the capabilities and knowledge of the college’s graduates, to which the MPs agreed and asked for ongoing coordination.

Peshmerga Committee

18 April 2023 - The committee planned their work for the legislative season, including scrutinizing  and helping to resolve the ongoing problems facing Peshmerga soldiers and the Peshmerga reform efforts.

They read reports and correspondence, and the chair reviewed their recent work and activities.

9 May 2023 – The committee discussed the imminent visit to Parliament of a joint delegation from the Iraqi ministries of Interior and Defence. The Iraqi government delegation is scheduled to meet with Parliament’s Interior and Peshmerga committees.

The committee replied to correspondence.

Agriculture and Irrigation Committee

18 April 2023 - The committee discussed and worked on the Agricultural Quarantine Bill. They replied to correspondence and raised some of it with Parliament’s Presidency and relevant authorities for further follow-up.

Health, Environment and Consumer Rights Committee

2 May 2023 - The committee discussed the meningitis outbreaks among children in Halabja, Ranya and several other areas.

The committee wrote to the KRG Ministry of Health calling for it to tackle the wide-ranging problems with healthcare in Halabja, especially the shortage of health sector staff and nurses.

The MPs also exchanged views about the dangers presented by stray dogs in Erbil and dog attacks that have killed people. They decided to hold another meeting on the issue.

15 May 2023 – The committee received Karim Sulaiman, KRG Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, and representatives of the Ministries of Interior, Health and Municipalities, to discuss how to reduce the risk of attacks by stray dogs in Erbil, which have increased.

Deputy Ministry Karim Sulaiman and the other officials said that in Slemani and Duhok governorates dogs homes have been built outside the city centres, which has reduced the risk of attacks on the public, and that one will be built in Erbil as well.

The Ministry of Health official said that in the first five months of 2023 in Erbil province more than 500 people were injured in dog attacks and visited the emergency hospital, and some were even killed.

The committee decided to write to the KRG Prime Minister’s Office to request the allocation of funds for a dogs home, and to meet with the Governor of Erbil to call for a temporary solution until a dogs home is built.

Integrity Committee

3 May 2023 - The committee met with the Chair of the Kurdistan Integrity Commission, Ahmad Anwar, to discuss the expiry of his legal term, the commission’s investigations, cases that the Parliament committee raised with the commission, and the commission’s administrative and financial affairs.

They discussed how to  continue their collaboration on tackling cases of misuse and waste of public funds and corruption.

Municipalities, Communication, Transport and Tourism Committee

7 May 2023 - Members of the committee visited Slemani governorate and met with the committee responsible for registering and legalizing the ownership of land that was illegally used or taken in the municipalities.

They reviewed the problems with the process and finding appropriate mechanisms for citizens to complete their transactions and register their houses.

More than 30,000 people have applied to register for legalization of the ownership of their properties in the centre of Slemani. The governorate’s committee said that soon most of the applications will be processed and the properties registered.

Finance and Economic Affairs Committee

8 May 2023 -  The committee discussed with Ardalan Mohammed Sarspi, Chief of the Diwan (administration) of Parliament and the Deputy Chief Hiwa Nusraddin, the government's guidelines on implementing Law No. 2 of 2020, the Law on Reform of Salaries, Allowances, Grants, Privileges & Retirement.

Energy, Natural Resources, Commerce and Industry Committee

9 May 2023 – The committee discussed how the problems and complaints about national electricity and private generators should be resolved, and decided to meet with the Minister of Electricity.

The committee replied to correspondence and raised some of it with the relevant authorities.

Legislative Committee

9 May 2023 – The committee drafted their reports for the second readings of the Draft Resolution on the Burial of Martyrs, and of the Legislative Proposal on the Second Amendment to Law No. 3 of 2019, the Law on Ownership of on Ownership of Illegally Taken or Used Land in Kurdistan Region’s Municipalities.

16 May 2023 – The committee worked on their report on the Bill on Adoption and Amendment of the Application of the Iraqi Agricultural Quarantine Law (Law No. 76 of 2012, as amended in Kurdistan Region – Iraq), to prepare the bill for its second reading at a future sitting.

Relations and Kurdish Diaspora Committee

10 May 2023 – The committee discussed several issues and their plans for the legislative season, including their ongoing follow-up of the problems facing the Kurdish Diaspora and the cases of missing migrants.

The MPs read and replied to reports and correspondence.

Culture, Civil Society, Sports and Youth Committee

17 May 2023 – The committee finalized their report on civil society organizations in the Kurdistan Region, and decided to submit it to Parliament’s Presidency to be tabled for deliberation at a sitting.

Committee on Kurdistani Areas outside KRG Administrative Area

17 May 2023 - The committee discussed the need to normalize the situation in the Kurdistani areas in general, and in the villages of Palkana and Sargaran in particular.

The MPs decided to draft a report on how to normalize the current situation in Sinjar and its surroundings for Parliament’s Presidency, to direct to the KRG.

The committee read their correspondence.