On 16th December 2015 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to questions on religious freedom in Iraq.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Iraq’s National Identity Law, and the impact that it will have on religious minorities in Iraq and their right to freedom of religion or belief.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We are concerned by Iraq’s proposed National Identity Law, in particular Article 26 which could restrict freedom of religion or belief, which is a basic human right. We welcome the resolution adopted by the majority of the Iraqi Council of Representatives on 17 November declaring its intention to amend the law. The National Identity Law is yet to be discussed since Parliament has been in recess. We will continue to monitor this issue closely.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Iraq regarding the National Identity Law and the right to freedom of religion or belief for all in Iraq.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We are closely following the proposed National Identity Law in Iraq. Our Embassy in Baghdad has raised at the highest level our concern about the potential effect of the Law, particularly Article 26, on minority ethnic and religious communities of Iraq. We have called on the members of the Council of Representatives to reconsider Article 26 and either remove it, or amend it from the proposed law. We have asked that the determination of the child’s religion for purposes of personal status law should only be made once she or he turns 18 years of age. We welcome the resolution adopted by the majority of the Council of Representatives on 17 November declaring its intention to amend the law. We continue to encourage the Government of Iraq to recognise all religious groups and ensure freedom of religion or belief in Iraq.