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Iraq votes against Kurdish independence referendum
Iraq votes against Kurdish independence referendum

The council of Iraq [official web site] on Tuesday denied [official summary, Arabic] the referendum petition of Kurdistan to permit its independence. The council voted to keep Kurdistan in its region despite its ongoing tensions [JURIST op-ed] to maintain the region’s stability.

The Council decided the following: Rejection of the referendum to be held within the borders of the Kurdistan region and beyond the borders of the province and in all the disputed territories, including Kirkuk and oblige the competent authorities to take the necessary to cancel it. The Iraqi government has the responsibility to maintain the unity of Iraq and to take all measures and decisions that guarantee the preservation of Iraq’s unity. To oblige the federal government and the territorial government to begin serious dialogue to address outstanding issues under the constitution and the laws in force.

Additionally the council found the referendum vote violates the Iraqi constitution as it may threaten the peace and civil unity.

The tension between Iraq and Kurdistan have continued for years resulting in the referendum vote [NPR report]. In September the UN said [JURIST report] that civilians bear the brunt of the violence. Last August Human Rights Watch reported that Iraqi militias are recruiting children [JURIST report] from at least one civilian camp of displaced persons in the region of Kurdistan. Earlier in the same month the UN issued a report detailing the “terrible atrocities” [JURIST report] committed by IS against the Yazidi people and other ethnic and religious groups in Iraq.