Kurdish child from disputed Kirkuk named ‘Referendum’ denied gov. ID
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A displaced Kurdish family from the disputed province of Kirkuk is being denied government identification documents for their child born just ahead of and named after the Kurdistan Region’s historic referendum bid, the father said on Wednesday.
On Sept. 5, 2017, when “Referendum” was born, his father, Daban, told Kurdistan 24 they had made the decision “to show support for the important step we, as a nation, are taking toward independence for the Kurdistan Region.”
The interview was held just twenty days ahead of the independence vote, which included the Kurdistan Region as well as areas disputed between the regional government and the federal Iraqi government, such as Kirkuk Province.
The vote saw a majority favoring statehood for the region, which Baghdad rejected and, less than a month later, mobilized the army as well as Iran-allied Shia militias into disputed areas from which the Kurdish Peshmerga were driven out.
Many families who had supported the referendum in these ethnically diverse areas fled for the Kurdistan Region amid fears of reprisals and persecution at the hands of Baghdad-supported officials. Over the past two years, Kurdish parties and activists have issued complaints, asserting that senior officials in these territories were imposing discriminatory policies.
Referendum and his family left Kirkuk for Erbil after the Iraqi army marched on their city. Since then, the parents have made attempts to obtain a nationality ID card issued for their-now two-year-old son.
The boy’s father, Daban, explained to Kurdistan 24 on Wednesday that his mother, who is still a resident of Kirkuk, had done the necessary paperwork for Referendum with the help of a lawyer.
Local authorities in Kirkuk eventually issued the documents but as Daban’s mother returned to the disputed city to retrieve the documents, she was denied. Referendum’s newly-issued documentation as well as his parents’ IDs were confiscated.
At the government office, “local intelligence forces took all the documents and IDs before detaining and interrogating my mother for an hour,” Daban said.
Daban claimed the officers had then demanded his mother inform him that he was expected to turn himself in to the authorities in Kirkuk as he reportedly faces criminal charges. Only after this would they be returned their IDs, he noted.
Editing by Nadia Riva