Ob­tain­ing Iraqi cit­i­zen­ship a great chal­lenge for Ira­nian Kurds

The Kurdish Globe - - NATIONAL -

Iraqi government pro­hibits Ira­nian Kurds from be­com­ing Iraqi ci­ti­zens de­spite lack of any le­gal ob­sta­cles

Ac­cord­ing to the per­sonal sta­tus law of Iraq, any­one who re­sides in Iraq for a pe­riod of 10 years or more, is en­ti­tled to be­come an Iraqi cit­i­zen re­gard­less of his/her na­tion­al­ity. How­ever, the cen­tral government of Iraq is hin­der­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for Iraqi cit­i­zen­ship by Ira­nian Kur­dish na­tion­als who have lived in Iraq for the el­i­gi­ble pe­riod.

Some Ira­nian Kurds re­sid­ing in Kur­dis­tan Re­gion ar­gue they have tried hard to ob­tain Iraqi cit­i­zen­ship but their ap­pli­ca­tions are be- ing re­jected or put on hold in Bagh­dad, and they ask Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Government to help them fa­cil­i­tate the process.

As per the per­sonal sta­tus law, the is­sue of cit­i­zen­ship is cen­tral­ized and the KRG can nei­ther pro­vide any as­sis­tance, nor is­sue and amend any of the pro­ce­dures for grant­ing cit­i­zen­ship to Ira­nian Kurds.

Cur­rently the KRG is­sues a res­i­dency per­mit to any for­eign­ers who en­ter Kur­dis­tan and want to stay there. There are dif­fer­ent types of res­i­dency per­mit rang­ing from three months to six months and one year.

For­eign­ers, who re­side in Kur­dis­tan due to po­lit­i­cal rea­sons, get a three month or six month per­mit de­pend­ing on whether they are sin­gle or mar­ried.

So­ran Is­maeli, an Ira­nian Kur­dish na­tional who has been re­sid­ing in Sulaimaniya for 14 years now, de­scribes how he is re­quired to visit the res­i­dency of­fice ev­ery six month to ex­tend his per­mit.

“I have ap­plied sev­eral times for an Iraqi cit­i­zen­ship, but all my ap­pli­ca­tions have been re­jected,” Is­maeli told the Kur­dish Globe. “None of my chil­dren have Iraqi cit­i­zen­ship ei­ther.”

Although, hun­dreds of ap­pli­ca­tions were submitted to the Sulaimaniya Di­rec­torate of Cit­i­zen­ship and Civil Sta­tus for Iraqi cit­i­zen­ship by Ira­nian Kurds dur­ing the year 2012, only 28 cit­i­zen­ship cer­tifi­cates have been is­sued dur­ing the year.

Bri­gadier Gen­eral Mo­hammed Saeed, Sulaimaniya Cit­i­zen­ship and Civil Sta­tus Di­rec­tor, told the Globe that any­one who sub­mits a com­plete ap­pli­ca­tion and has all the le­gal re­quire- ments, he or she would get a cit­i­zen­ship cer­tifi­cate.

“There are a lot of con­di­tions and reg­u­la­tions for this and they need to be amended to fa­cil­i­tate the process of ob­tain­ing a cit­i­zen­ship cer­tifi­cate,” ar­gued B.G. Saeed.

Ad­vo­cate and le­gal ex­pert Kawa Qadir, who works as a lawyer at the Sulaimaniya Court, be­lieves that grant­ing Iraqi cit­i­zen­ship to Ira­nian Kurds is more of a po­lit­i­cal is­sue rather than a le­gal is­sue.

“The Iraqi government is con­cerned about the in­crease in the num­ber of Kurds, which will have an im­pact on both the elec­tions and the gen­eral cen­sus that the Iraqi government has been de­lay­ing for eight years now un­der dif­fer­ent jus­ti­fi­ca­tions,” Ad­vo­cate Qadir told the Globe.

A hand raises an Iraqi pass­port in front of a crowd of Iraqis.

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