World, Middle East

Iraq parliament recognizes Shia militia

Shia militia has been accused in the past of committing rights violations against Sunnis

26.11.2016
Iraq parliament recognizes Shia militia

BAGHDAD

The Iraqi parliament Saturday voted to recognize the Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia as an official force.

Some 208 MPs of the 328-seat parliament attended Saturday’s vote, which was boycotted by Sunni lawmakers.

“The security and defense committee with the participation of relevant panels has managed to issue the Hashd al-Shaabi legislation,” lawmaker Hakim al-Zamli told reporters.

He called on the government to finalize the structure and appointments of the militia leaders.

Established in 2014, the Hashd al-Shaabi is an umbrella group of pro-government Shia militias drawn up with the purpose of fighting the Daesh terrorist group.

“The Council of Representatives (parliament) has fulfilled its responsibility toward the mujahideen (fighters),” Ammar al-Hakim, the head of the Shia National Alliance, the largest bloc in parliament, said.

Saturday’s vote came despite a call by the Iraqi cabinet for withdrawing the bill for further study.

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi has been controversial, since the Shia militia has been accused in the past of committing rights violations against Sunni-Muslim populations in areas taken from Daesh, including Iraq’s western city of Fallujah.

Iraq’s security situation has deteriorated markedly since mid-2014, when Daesh captured Mosul -- Iraq’s second largest city -- and overran large swathes of territory in the country’s northern and western regions.

Reporting by Muayed al-Tarafi; Writing by Mahmoud Barakat;

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