Iraqi parliament to vote again on recognizing Halabja as separate province
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi legislators are scheduled to cast their votes on a proposal aimed at officially acknowledging Halabja as the 19th province of Iraq this coming Saturday, as indicated in the legislative body's agenda.
The bill to establish Halabja province has faced multiple postponements in the past.
On Sept. 18, the vote to grant Halabja its status as a distinct province was postponed.
In March, the Iraqi government issued a decree officially recognizing the Kurdistan Region's fourth province as a new addition to the country. But the Iraqi parliament so far has not approved the proposal.
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani earlier welcomed the Iraqi government’s decision, reiterating the call for compensating the city’s victims.
Halabja’s elevation of its administrative status to a province is believed to have helped the city, which endured Saddam Hussein’s notorious chemical bombardment in 1988, in securing direct funds from the Iraqi budget to help reconstruct the war-torn area.
On March 16, 1988, Iraqi aircraft launched a chemical weapons attack on the city of Halabja, killing some 5,000 people and injuring 10,000 more.
Since 2014, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has recognized Halabja as its fourth province, after Duhok, Erbil, and Sulaimani.