Kurdistan cabinet addresses violence against women, post-election Iraq, migrant crisis

Members of the Kurdistan Region’s Council of Ministers hold a session in Erbil, Nov. 24, 2021. (Photo: KRG)
Members of the Kurdistan Region’s Council of Ministers hold a session in Erbil, Nov. 24, 2021. (Photo: KRG)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region Council of Ministers discussed several leading issues in its weekly session on Wednesday, in which ministers began by affirming the government’s efforts to eliminate all forms of violence, specifically against women.

According to a government statement, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and other ministrs began the meeting by marking the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which will be celebrated on Thursday.

The Council of Ministers also discussed the current political developments in Iraq following parliamentary elections held in October that have resulted in multiple claims of fraud that both the Iraqi judiciary and the UN mission in Iraq say are unsubstantiated.

Read More: UN envoy to Security Council: No evidence of fraud in Iraqi election

The Kurdistan Region’s unified political parties’ post-election message, he said, "stresses the need for a peaceful dialogue to ensure the public interest in the country and stresses the importance of unity in Baghdad with the aim of guaranteeing the constitutional rights and entitlements for the region."

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Aram Mohammed then briefed the council on recent protests by Kurdistan Region university students, with the council voting to allocate additional funds to the ministry in efforts to improve the conditions at dormitories and later protect graduates' livelihoods.

Although the cabinet recommended that security forces "guarantee the right to peaceful demonstration for students demanding their rights away from violence," it also "condemned in the strongest terms the contempt and insult to the sanctities of the Region and the flag of Kurdistan by some people, as well as the attacks against and belittling of security forces and the destruction and sabotage of institutions."

The meeting continued as the head of the Department of Foreign Relations Safeen Dizayi, presented a report on the efforts of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to address the issue of migrants stranded at the Belarusian-Polish border and bring home any who wish to return to the Kurdistan Region.

Read More: PM Barzani calls on Europe to provide urgent aid to migrants stranded on its borders

Ministers present commended the efforts of the department and other relevant authorities to assist the migrants in various ways, such as facilitating their voluntary return and instructing the Ministry of Interior to investigate and prosecute anyone involved in human trafficking. 

The meeting concluded with Abdul Rahman Siddiq, the Chairman of the Environmental Protection and Improvement Authority, reviewing a comprehensive report it had prepared on the domestic environmental situation.

Read More: Former US climate ambassador says Kurdistan Region has part to play in world environmental efforts

The cabinet agreed "to direct all ministries to cooperate" with the authority, "and it was also decided to make the necessary preparations for holding an extensive and comprehensive scientific conference to promote environmental development in the Kurdistan Region."