ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is challenging the US State Department’s 2017 annual report's observations on human rights in the Kurdistan Region, saying the report depended on unreliable sources.
Dindar Zebari, Head of the Committee to Evaluate and Respond to International Reports for the KRG, in a press conference in Erbil on Monday responded to the report, stating it relied on "personal accounts rather than official information."
In early April 2017, the State Department released its annual report on the condition of human rights across the world, in which some sections were related to the Kurdistan Region.
The report accused the KRG of violating human rights, and of restraining the work of journalists and NGOs. It also criticized the process of unifying Peshmerga forces, security institutions in the Region, corruption, and other issues related to human rights.
Addressing issues in the Kurdistan Region, Zebari said the reform process has begun in the Region, starting with the Ministry of Peshmerga, and that several cases of corruption have been sent to the courts. He also mentioned 1,566 Peshmerga soldiers and officers were fired in the process.
Zebari noted that the unification of Peshmerga forces is an ongoing process, adding that it requires logistic and financial support.
On the subject of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) returning to liberated areas, Zebari criticized the report, stating it failed to mention the main reason why IDPs have not been returning to their original areas.
"The reason IDPs are not returning to their homes is due to the lack of basic services in the liberated areas, especially in Makhmour, Zummar, Rabi’a, and other Peshmerga liberated areas," the KRG official said.
Regarding IDPs in Kirkuk, Zebari stated those in the province were under the purview of the local administration, not the KRG.
Editing by G.H. Renaud