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Iraq's Caucasus tribes demand formal recognition

Iraq's Caucasus tribes — the Circassians, Chechens and Dagestanis — are joining together in the hopes of being recognized as an official minority group in the Iraqi Constitution.
Dancers from the Circassian minority perform dances from their old folklore heritage at the Southern theatre during the Jerash Festival in the ancient city of Jerash July 26, 2011. The Jerash festival for culture and art is a celebration of both Jordanian and international culture featuring poetry recitals, gymnastic performances, dance, plays and comedy. Picture taken July 26, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer (JORDAN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) - RTR2PC4Q
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SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq — Three Iraqi Caucasus tribes are uniting to seek recognition under the Iraqi Constitution. The Circassians, Chechens and Dagestanis want to unify their communities under one national name, “Caucasus,” much like the Christians of Iraq did when they formed the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council political party in 2007.

The tribes seek formal recognition in the constitution to guarantee equal rights and legal protection from violence against minorities. On Nov. 24, the nongovernmental organization Masarat for Cultural and Media Development (MCMD) hosted a meeting of representatives of the three groups in the Sulaimaniyah governorate in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. There, they asked to be included among Iraqi minorities and officially declared their demands. MCMD is preparing a draft law regarding rights for minorities that it will submit to parliament.

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