ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The autonomous Kurdistan Region is the land of all, including its numerous ethnic and religious groups, and all should participate in administrating and bearing public duties and responsibilities, the president of the region’s leading party said on Wednesday.
Masoud Barzani’s comment came during a meeting with lawmakers representing ethnic and religious minorities in the Kurdistan Region’s Parliament in Erbil.
Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the former President of the Kurdistan Region, currently holds no governmental posts but remains an important political figure in the region and Iraq in general.
During the meeting, Christian and Turkmen lawmakers praised the role of Barzani in insisting their representation in the opposition against the former authoritarian government of Saddam Hussein prior to 2003, securing their rights in the current Constitution of Iraq as well as granting them a seat in the Kurdistan Parliament’s leadership and securing posts for them in the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cabinet, according to a statement released by Barzani’s press office.
They thanked the Kurdistan Parliament and the KDP faction for dedicating important roles among parliamentary committees to ethnic and religious groups.
The autonomous region has a unicameral parliamentary legislature with 111 seats, with five quota seats each reserved for Turkmen and Christian parties and one seat specifically set aside for a member of an Armenian party.
“Kurdistan is the homeland of all of us, and all must be partners in administrating the region as well as bearing responsibilities for it,” Barzani told the lawmakers.
The senior Kurdish leader also stressed that no component should be described as a “minority”, stating no ethnic group should be measured and treated based on numbers as each offer their own perspective and that differences are to be respected and celebrated for their contributions, the statement added.
The current members of the Kurdistan Region’s parliament are planning to draft a constitution for the autonomous region with the consent of all political parties, ethnic, and religious groups.
“President Barzani stressed that the rights of all components will be fully secured and preserved in the Constitution of Kurdistan, and no ethnic or religious discrimination will be allowed. Everyone is equal and a partner in Kurdistan.”
Barzani also discussed the current political developments in the region and relations between Erbil and Baghdad.
Editing by Nadia Riva