On Monday, lawmakers in Iraqi Kurdistan put their weight behind a proposal that would establish two political councils for religious and ethnic minorities in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The proposal was sent to Kurdistan’s Constitutional Committee, and, if passed, would increase the political representation of Kurdistan’s many ethnic and religious minorities.
History of Giving Political Representation to Minorities
Ever since the Kurdistan Regional Government was established, there have always been 11 parliamentary seats set aside for Christian and Turkmen legislators. However, there are some Kurdish lawmakers who believe that 11 seats are not enough.
The new proposal would build two councils that would include Christians and Turkmen, but also other religious and ethnic minorities. One council would represent Kurdistan’s ethnic minorities, including the Turkmen, Arabs, Assyrians and Chaldeans. The other council would represent Kurdistan’s religious minorities including Christians, Yazidis, Zoroastrians and Baha’is.
Home to Many Christians and Other Minorities
Before 2003, it was estimated that nearly 1.5 million Christians lived in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Today, the population of Christians in Kurdistan may be less than a third of that – 500,000 – nearly half of whom are actively seeking refuge from regional conflicts.
About two-thirds of Iraqi Christians are Chaldeans (primarily Catholic), while the other third of Iraqi Christians are Assyrian, from the Assyrian Church of the East.
Kurdistan is not only home to Kurds. There are many other ethnic groups in Iraqi Kurdistan, including Turkmen and Arabs.[To Read More Visit Voice of America]