The Centre for Regional and International Studies (CRIS) at the University of Kurdistan Hewlêr (UKH) hosted a major conference titled “The Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Unity and Constitution”.
The conference was attended by the Kurdistan Region’s political elites, including, President Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and the Speaker of Kurdistan Parliament, Rewaz Faiq Husein. Also present the head of the Chaldean Church, Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako and Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
The conference, which took place at Erbil’s Rotana hotel, was focused on the necessity of unity among the region’s political parties and the need for a constitution for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
In light of the Iraqi Constitution, the federal regions are allowed to have their own constitutions. Additionally, President Nechirvan Barzani’s recent attempts to gather all parties around one table and his ambitions for passing a constitution bill in the parliament during his term in office is warmly received by the main governing and opposition parties.
"We want to guarantee the safety of our next generations. Protection of the civil rights is an important point of having a constitution for the Kurdistan Region" President Nechirvan Barzani said. “The constitution that will be drafted for Kurdistan should be a constitution in which values that the Kurdistan Region has always been proud of, such as democracy and freedom of speech -should be constantly preserved,” concluded the President.
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani has joined calls for unity among Kurdish political parties. “What is most important is that all parties talk to each other closely, with an open mind, ready to listen to each other and accept each other“ said the PM.
The head of the Chaldean Church, Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, has called for the separation of religion and state in a future constitution for the Kurdistan Region, promoting a "civil constitution" that recognises pluralism and the Region's diversity. Sako called for the separation of religion from the state, saying that it is the only way to ensure the freedom of practicing religions in the Region, home to diverse faiths.
The Kurdistan Region does not currently have a constitution, instead governed by a series of laws, instructions and norms.
In 2019, Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Rewaz Fayeq called on Kurdish parties to unite and reach agreements before beginning to write a constitution. Work began on a draft constitution that year, but was later suspended.
In April of this year, MPs were asked to re-submit their agreements and disagreements to parliament in order to restart work on the draft.