Iraqi ambassadorial personnel

Women and small population groups massively underrepresented (Press Release)

According to a study by the Middle East Research Institute (MERI), the main criterion for the appointment of Iraqi ambassadorial personnel is Muslim faith. As the institute – which is located in Iraqi Kurdistan – stated, professional qualifications play a less important role. "This is a violation of the Iraqi law, according to which the main criteria for the selection of ambassadorial personnel should be a university degree, professional experience, as well as language skills," criticized Dr. Kamal Sido, Middle East Consultant of the Society for Threatened Peoples. 

In this year's application round, 35 of 200 potential candidates were selected: 19 Shiites, nine Sunni Arabs, six probably Sunni Kurds, and one member of the Christian minority. There are only a few women among them. "It seems that the main criteria were Muslim faith and membership in the right political party. Qualifications, experience, merits, and leadership qualities were less important," Sido added. "This practice discriminates against the minority groups in the country. There are no Yazidis, Kaka'is, Shabak, or Mandaeans among the candidates. Most of the candidates are hardly qualified for their areas of responsibility and need further training. Also, the aspect of equal opportunities between men and women was not considered.

The established distribution of power among the various population groups in Iraq is as follows: the office of President goes to the Kurdish ethnic group, the office of Speaker of Parliament to the Sunni-Arab group, and the office of Prime Minister is reserved for the Shiite Arabs in the country. The President only has a representative function, while Prime Minister has all the executive power. The parliamentary elections in October will most probably not lead to any changes in this regard.