Aug 20, 2015

Iraqi Turkmen: Protests over Human Rights Ministry Abolition

On 16 August 2015, Iraq's Prime Minister, Mr Haidar Al-Abadi, with a highly controversial decision to combat corruption in governmental institutes, dissolved 4 ministries and 11 affiliated positions, reducing his cabinet's members from 33 to 22. The list included the Ministry of Human Rights, the only Turkmen-led ministerial portfolio, causing outrage among members of the community.  Speaking to the Anadolu Agency, Mr Arshad Salihi, President of the Turkmen Front in the Iraqi Parliament, has addressed the decision with concern, saying that "the Government should at least include one Turkmen minister."


Below is an article by Anadolu Agency

Two Turkmen MPs in Iraq’s parliament have requested that the newly-dissolved Human Rights Ministry be restored or that former Rights Minister Mohamed Mahdi Bayati -- a Turkmen -- be given another portfolio.

On Monday, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi dissolved several government ministries, including Bayati’s Human Rights Ministry. The move came as part of a sweeping raft of reforms aimed at combating government corruption and streamlining state bureaucracy.

"While I support the prime minister’s efforts to fight corruption, the [human rights] ministry should not be done away with," Arshad Salihi, president of the Turkmen front in parliament, told Anadolu Agency.

"The government should include at least one Turkmen minister," he added.

Hasan Toran, Turkmen front vice president, agreed, noting that all Iraqi governments since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the country had included Turkmen elements.

"By taking this step, al-Abadi is breaking with this tradition," he said. "Iraq’s Turkmen want the Human Rights Ministry restored or to be given another portfolio."

On Sunday, al-Abadi’s office announced the reduction of the number of Cabinet portfolios from 33 to 22. 

The move -- which came into effect the next day -- dissolved Bayati’s Human Rights Ministry, along with three deputy prime ministries, the Ministry of State for Women's Affairs, the Ministry of State for Provincial Affairs, and the Ministry of State.

Five other portfolios, meanwhile, were subsumed under a single ministry.