ANKAWA / NINEVEH PLAIN, Iraq – In strong criticism of Iraq’s past and present government’s handling of the issue of ‘disputed areas’, the Bethnahrain Patriotic Union (HBA*) sent a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustapha al-Kadhimi calling “for the formation of joint committees from all political parties and from all indigenous component populations in disputed areas” to come to radical and just solutions for the areas covered by article 140 of the Constitution of Iraq.
According to the HBA, Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region Government did not hear Yazidi and Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian political parties and population of Sinjar in taking this “historic agreement,” as the two parties call it. HBA considers it “unfair to marginalize their opinion” and says the indigenous components have been neglected and kept out of this agreement.
The “historical agreement” drawn up by the two parties seems the start of a process to solve the issue of disputed areas. If the two parties started with Sinjar, then other areas will follow and be included in future solutions. The Bethnahrain Patriotic Union demands full participation of affected indigenous components and their political parties in this process;
“As this concerns us, the residents of the Nineveh Plain, and the politicians of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people and other minorities, the Bethnahrain Patriotic Union must be a participant in talks. This issue is a national political issue and not a separate part that can be entrusted to non-politicians. The marginalization of affected components and their representatives creates problems, the most important of which is the annulment of their own will. Such approach does not end the problems of demographic change, security, cultural, and societal peace, but rather complicates problems.”
Bethnahrain Patriotic Union: “The implementation of Article 140 was neglected and delayed.”
Background – In its letter, the Bethnahrain Patriotic Union’s utters strong criticism on the failure of consecutive administrations to implement the letter and spirit of Article 140 of the Constitution of Iraq and “reverse the injustice caused by the policies and practices employed by the previous Saddam Hussein-led Baath regime by changing the demographic situation of certain areas, included Kirkuk etc…”. HBA says that Iraq’s government did not carry out its duties, and neglected and delayed serious issues related to security, economy, demographic change, and many other aspects.
By not fulfilling the provisions of Article 140, and neglecting or delaying Clause 58 of the Law on Administration of the Iraqi State for a Transitional Period – which should have been done no later than the 31st of December 2007 – to statistically (census) normalize the situation in disputed areas and hold referendums in Kirkuk and other disputed areas to determine the will of its citizens, the Iraqi government has neglected its duties.
HBA says that; “after the liberation of the areas of Iraq occupied by ISIS, and until now, the executive authority has not interfered with stopping migration and returning internally displaced persons to their original areas. This has caused housing problems, security concerns, and especially security concerns for the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people in the Nineveh Plains.”
And that this comes on top of, “the demographic change from 2003 until today, as has happened in the Nineveh Plain as a result of the displacement of components from the western parts of the Nineveh governorate, the district of Tal Afar, and other areas because of terrorism. This led to the emergence of dozens of camps and mixing and changing the demographics of the towns of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian nation in the Nineveh Plain. This comes in addition to what happened during the previous Saddam regime, and on top of the ISIS terrorist occupation from June and August 2014.”
For these past events to be corrected and the voice of indigenous components to be heard, the Bethnahrain Patriotic Union calls for inclusiveness and the formation of committees with representatives from all political parties and from all indigenous component populations in the disputed areas.
* HBA or Huyodo d-Bethnahrin Athroyo (Bethnahrain Patriotic Union) in native Surayt/Surith.