Iraq: Youth MP Sarkis Youkhanna strongly criticizes ongoing violations of minority rights

BAGHDAD – Member of the Iraqi Youth Parliament Sarkis Youkhanna has published an article in which he clarifies and strongly criticizes the ongoing abuses and violations of the rights of minority peoples, including the rights of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people, in Iraq. Sarkis Youkhanna reflects the painful reality that minorities in Iraq are experiencing.

While Iraq is home to many national and religious components, deeply rooted in the soil of Beth Nahrain (Mesopotamia), this multicultural and multi-ethnic diversity is increasingly under threat. Youkhanna argues that the developed countries of the world take pride in cultural and ethnic diversity and see it as a strength, unlike underdeveloped countries – he includes Iraq in this category – where minority rights are widely violated on all levels.

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In his critical piece, the Youth MP elaborates on the reasons for the marginalization of ethnic peoples in Iraq, particularly in terms of representation in the Iraqi parliament. On the how and who of the representative of minority peoples in Iraq, Youkhanna says; “To achieve national quorum, participation and self-determination, similar to the larger [Arab and Kurdish] components, minorities need real representatives who defend and represent their rights properly.” Because large parties dominate the political process, the reality is quite different from what it should be. These large parties compete to digest minority rights, entitlements, and their fair and legal share of government funds. They steal their parliamentary, legislative, and executive seats.

“This theft and plundering is the result of a culture of disrespect for the other, a lack of patriotism, transparency, and democracy. It is aimed at polishing the shameful image of these parties in the public opinion and for the international community, Because the powerful and leading parties have representatives “embedded” within the minority components, while the opposite is not true,” Youkhanna said.

Sarkis Youkhanna is Baghdad head of Khoyada (“Unity”), a Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian students and youth organization in Iraq. The Iraqi Youth Parliament was established in 2008 and has 250 members. It is not an official state body.