The Iraqi parliament’s rejection of the refugee bill and its fear of naturalizing foreigners raises many questions about the justifications for this position, while refugees residing in the country await the issuance of this decision, and they see these concerns as unjustified.
Amal Saqr – a Palestinian journalist who has lived in Iraq for decades and seeks to obtain his nationality – says that the concerns of the Iraqi parliament about granting citizenship to refugees from other countries are “unjustified”, and this is an international obligation on the Iraqi state.
Saqr comments on the council’s rejection of the “refugee law” and its return to the government, “We have concerns that the law will not cover us with naturalization. We were imprisoned within borders that we are not allowed to move, and we cannot travel. I hope the law will allow us to be naturalized in Iraq.”
A few days ago, the Iraqi parliament rejected the draft “refugee law”, and the council did not request amendments to it by the competent parliamentary committees. Rather, it completely rejected it and returned it to the government, in an indication of the lack of desire to legislate it.
Article (14) of the draft law stipulates that “the minister may calculate the period of asylum that a refugee spends in the Republic of Iraq that exceeds 10 years of continuous residence for the purposes of naturalization with Iraqi nationality. Accepting his asylum is a legitimate entry into Iraq.”
Member of Parliament Alia Nassif supports the rejection of the clause that allows the naturalization of non-Iraqis, and considers this law “mined”, not in the interest of Iraqis, and affirms that it will be rejected in this form.
She tells Al-Jazeera Net that “it is better for us to care about the Iraqis, and provide them with job opportunities and a future befitting them. The issue of naturalizing non-Iraqis has negative effects in the future that will affect the life of Iraqi society, and its success in Europe does not mean its success in Iraq or that it will benefit us, on the contrary, it will harm our society.” .
She added, “The draft law, in its current form, threatens societal peace and the social fabric, and will not have any positive results for the benefit of Iraq and the Iraqis.”
It is known that Iraqis seek asylum in other countries, such as America, Europe, Canada and Australia, but Iraq is not known to be a country that gives asylum due to the conditions it has been going through for nearly 40 years, starting from the Iran-Iraq war, through the invasion of Kuwait, and up to its current conditions.
However, the former Iraqi Council of Ministers sought to legislate a law that would allow asylum in Iraq, but there are “fears” that the naturalization clause would be used for political purposes, which prompted most of the members to return it to the government, in an attempt to prevent its legislation.
Anas al-Azzawi, a member of the Iraqi Human Rights Commission (an institution linked to the parliament), told Al-Jazeera Net that one of the concerns is granting citizenship. He added that some politicians are afraid of crowding out some who have obtained Iraqi nationality, and the influence of other societies’ culture, and then becoming competitors in political action, a fear that comes from politicians who acquired the nationalities of other countries in earlier times and were refugees there.
A large number of Iraqi politicians – including Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi, President Barham Salih, and heads of government and the republic since 2003 until now – were refugees in other countries, and some of them acquired the nationalities of those countries, and among them most of the Iraqi government ministers as well, including a minister Finance Ali Abdul Amir Allawi, who holds British citizenship.
The draft law stipulates that asylum seekers from the Republic of Iraq should not be involved in terrorist acts, commit international crimes, or engage in any political activity against Iraq.
According to an Iraqi government source who spoke to Al-Jazeera Net, “There are asylum applications submitted to the Iraqi government in the last ten years, from Pakistan, Bahrain and Syria, as well as from Iran and Afghanistan.”
The source adds that “most of the asylum applications come from students of the religious seminary in the city of Najaf, who wish to stay in the city to complete their studies and obtain Iraqi citizenship, but the Iraqi government has not decided on these requests.”
And Iraqi politicians ’fears of granting citizenship to non-Iraqis remain the main factor preventing the enactment of this law. Public culture in Iraq still fears the“ al-Gharib ”and conspiracy theory of the possibility of exploiting the“ nationality ”politically.