Iraqi parliament to vote on Halabja governorate status
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Members of the Iraqi parliament are set to vote on making the Kurdistan Region’s Halabja the 19th Iraqi province following numerous delays to the legislation on Saturday, according to a statement.
The session is set to be convened at 1:00 p.m. in Baghdad.
The Iraqi members are set to vote on the bill, which will recognize Halabja as the 19th Iraqi government if it is passed.
The bill has been removed from previous parliamentary sessions over opposition by a number of Iraqi lawmakers, a number of Kurdish lawmakers have alleged.
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.
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani welcomed the Iraqi government’s decision early this year, reiterating the call for compensating the city’s victims.
Since 2014, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has recognized Halabja as its fourth province, after Duhok, Erbil, and Sulaimani.
The regional government has opened new directorates and offices in the city in a bid to delegate more power to local authorities.
In addition to direct injuries sustained in the actual chemical attack, a significant percentage of the population has developed multiple chronic health conditions as a result of exposure to the toxic substances used. Thirty-four years after the attacks, the survivors and victims of the tragedy are still struggling with chronic health consequences.