Halabja Governorate within Kurdistan Region
|• Governor||Azad Tofiq|
|• Vice Governor||Kawa Ali|
|• Total||888.915 km2 (343.212 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (AST)|
Halabja Governorate or Halabja Province (Kurdish: پارێزگای ھەڵەبجە, Arabic: محافظة حلبجة Muḥāfaẓat Ḥalabǧa) is a governorate in Iraqi Kurdistan. The governorate was established in 2014, splitting off from Sulaymaniyah Governorate and becoming the sixth governorate in Northern Iraq. Its capital is the city of Halabja.
The Kurdish Parliament first agreed to turn Halabja District into a province in 1999, but it was not enacted at the time. The Kurdistan Regional Government approved of it becoming a governorate in June 2013. Iraq's Council of Ministers approved a bill on 31 December 2013 to enable it. The Iraqi Parliament had to pass the bill but failed to do so. However, the Speaker of the house, Osama Nujaifi, advised that the Kurdistan Regional Government had the power to make Halabja a province. On 13 March 2014, Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister of Kurdistan Regional Government, signed the decision of making Halabja district the fourth governorate of Kurdistan Region; that happened just three days before the remembrance of Halabja chemical attack, which happened on 16 March 1988. On March 16, 2014, Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani signed a regional directive to promote Halabja from district status to a province. The Kurdish Parliament passed a bill in February 2015 to establish the legal framework for selecting a provincial council and a governor. As of December 2015, the Iraqi Parliament had not yet officially recognised the province, apparently because of issues with budgeting finance for it. In August 2018, the then Iraqi Interior Minister, Qasim al-Araji, approved authorization for the opening of federal offices that would issue passports, national ID cards, and other civil documents under its own name.
Halabja comprises the central district, Halabja, and three other districts, Sirwan, Khurmal, and Byara (Bayyarah). Three other districts of the Sulaymaniyah Governorate had the option of joining the province, but decided against it.
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