HL Deb 24 January 2005 vol 668 cc131-2WA
Lord Avebury

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What arrangements were left in place for the governance of the city of Kirkuk by the coalition forces in Iraq; and what provision was made for representation of internally displaced former residents of the city, and for changes in the demography of the city measured by a census or other means, to be reflected in the representation of the ethnic groups in the population. [HL670]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

After the handover to the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) on 27 June, the Provincial Council assumed responsibility for the civilian governance of the Province of Kirkuk. US forces (as part of the multinational force) remained in Kirkuk at the invitation of the IIG and are responsible for security in Kirkuk and Suleimaniyah Provinces in partnership with the Iraqi Security Forces, the Iraqi Police and the Iraqi National Guard. The future governance of Kirkuk is covered by Article 58 of the Transitional Administrative Law, which includes provision for a census and issues relating to the ethnic make up of the city and its province.

The Kirkuk Provisional Council established an internally displaced person (IDP) committee to address the needs of IDPs with the full support of the multinational force, the US Regional Office and the UK Embassy Office in Kirkuk. The committee has members from each ethnic group to ensure that the interests of all are fully represented.

Some 108,000 IDPs, 90 per cent of whom were Kurdish, were able to register for the elections during the first regular registration of voters in November and December. A supplementary registration period started on 17 January and will continue until 25 January in order for all eligible IDPs and re-settlers of villages destroyed under Saddam Hussein to be registered to vote in the national elections on 30 January. The Kirkuk office of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq has said that it expects a maximum of 102,000 further registrations to take place during the supplementary registration period.