International United Nations Watch expresses its deep concern about events currently unfolding in Iraq, where as of today, the Iraqi police and para-military groups moved against protests organised in the Iraqi capital as well as in the southern governrates against corruption in the country, leading to the deaths of at least 100 people, and thousands of injuries. Protesters staged a sit-in outside the Iraqi government headquarters in the Green Zone, to protest the country’s spreading corruption, which put Iraq on the list of the most corrupt countries in the World.
IUNW condemns this violent escalation, on the part of the Iraqi police, and calls for end of violence against protesters and to protect their right to peaceful assembly as stipulated in the Iraqi constitution.
The Iraqi authorties have blocked access to social media sites, but following lifting the ban on the internet fora short while, worrying footage and videos have emerged from the country, which showed people being snipped as they protested, without posing a threat to the police.
IUNW is particularly concerned with the response of UN and its member states to the violence. IUNW is of the opinion that the UN should pressure the Iraqi government to stop its attack against protesters immediately and to meet their demands as they call for bringing corrupt people accountable.
IUNW also joins UN leaders, agencies, and important NGOs, in its condemnation of the crackdown in Iraq. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the crackdown, and has also called for “dialogue between the Government and the demonstrators,” and also expressed sadness over the loss of life. “We are worried by reports that security forces have used live ammunition and rubber bullets in some areas, and have also fired tear gas cannisters directly at protestors,” OHCHR spokesperson Marta Hurtado told journalists in Geneva on Friday.
IUNW urges the Iraqi government and all para-military groups affiliated with its to cease the use of excessive force against protesters, and calls on all relevant UN bodies to do their part to secure the fair demands of Iraqi protesters, and prevent further bloodshed, that is likely to ensure if the current trajectory is not halted. The UN should do much more than condemnations and expressing sadness over the deaths of Iraqis, who have reasonable and fair demands.