The Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) held a workshop on “Law No. 5 of (2015) for the Protection of Minorities in the Kurdistan Region: Challenges and Opportunities”. The workshop included 24 participants, including (11 women and 13 men) Baha’is, Chaldean Christians, Assyrians, Armenians, Yazidis, Jews, Kaka’is, Mandaeans, Turkmens, Zoroastrians, in addition to Arabs, as well as the Department of Religious and National Components Affairs in the Presidency of the Kurdistan Region. Iraq, representatives of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, representatives of the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, the representative of the Directorate of Ethnic and Religious Minorities, and the Chancellery of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament.
Discussions centered on the laws, mechanisms, policies, and programs put in place by the Kurdistan Regional Government to promote and protect the rights of people belonging to ethnic and religious groups in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Participants also stressed that the KRG, civil society organizations, constituent communities and individuals share a common responsibility to preserve and respect Iraq's diverse national, ethnic, linguistic and religious heritage. Participants also highlighted the need to support the government's efforts to enhance the protection of constituent groups, and the need to consult these groups on future legislative processes to ensure effective participation in public affairs.
This workshop is the fourth out of five workshops that started in October with the aim of increasing awareness and knowledge about the importance of strengthening the protection of minority rights in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq as well as stimulating stronger participation of all stakeholders.