Demonstrations because of delayed salaries and poor services
Protests against the payment of financial dues and the provision of services to citizens have become one the urgent issues that the government should pay more attention to, as it is one of the basic requirements for citizens that guarantee their means of living, and the government has to address it. It is one of the basic human rights governments must guarantee citizens. In this report, the monitoring team will review two events that took place in the governorates of Sulaymaniyah and Erbil in the second half of April 2023:
Demonstrations in Sulaymaniyah Governorate- 27 4-2023
On Thursday, at exactly ten o'clock in the morning, dozens of contract workers gathered at the Autism Center in Sulaymaniyah Governorate, demanding their salaries and financial dues that they had not received since the beginning of the year. The Director of the Autism Center showed that several 30 employees in the institution have been contracted since 2012 to work in the Sulaymaniyah Center for Children with Autism, and they receive a month’s salary between three hundred thousand Iraqi dinars, but they have not received their salaries since the beginning of 2023. The salary problem has not been resolved despite frequent contact with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the region.
The issue of contract workers faces many challenges in front of the workers themselves and government institutions, especially in the matter of paying salaries, so it has become imperative to address it from its roots.
For this reason, the workers at the Sulaymaniyah Center for Children with Autism announced a sit-in and organized a protest to demand their financial dues. And - one demonstrator - demonstrated that they have been working in this center for over 10 years and they are dedicated to their work and have a moral commitment towards the children at the center. As a result of this, they had to bear the delayed salaries, and they hoped that the regional government and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs would resolve the issue, but the government ignored them because of their circumstances and considering the difficult living situation, the workers
sat-in and stand in protest to put pressure on the government to pay their financial dues, which have not been paid to them for 4 months. Additionally, contract workers were supposed to be transferred to permanent employment, but the KRG failed to take any steps to do so.
The government side pointed out - Arian Ahmed - spokesperson for the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, that they are currently preoccupied with problems related to the payment of financial dues to workers at the Autism Center in Sulaymaniyah. This is an important part of the Ministry's work. Payment of employee salaries next week. Or converting workers under contract to permanent staffing is decided by the Council of Ministers.
From a security point of view, the demonstration was peaceful and there was no violence by the demonstrators. In addition, no security forces member was monitored. The event was covered by several satellite channels and social media channels, including Facebook.
Demonstrations in Erbil Governorate 4-30-2023
On Sunday, at exactly eleven o'clock in the morning, dozens of residents of the Balisan region gathered, and they cut off the main road between Soran district, which belongs to Erbil Governorate and Sulaymaniyah Governorate, because the road is under construction, and it is a dreadful road that extends for a distance of (22 km), and even though the regional government renovated this main road, more than a year ago. The executing company has stopped working due to not receiving its financial dues. Consequently, the road deteriorated, especially since it is the only main road connecting the Soran district with the Sulaymaniyah Governorate.
This is shown by one citizen in the region that they contacted many concerned authorities in the district of Soran, but they did not receive any significant response from the government side, and
The lack of maintenance of the main roads could have negative consequences for traffic and trade between the provinces of the region. This is especially since these roads are the only ones for transporting goods between the provinces. Therefore, taking care of it and maintaining it regularly is necessary.
more than a year has passed since the start of the project, which was supposed to be completed during the beginning of 2023, it was only implemented 10% of the project. The road is full of potholes and bumps due to passing trucks, which greatly inconvenienced the region. In addition, only during the past year, four deaths occurred because of road
accidents in this area because of the poor quality of the street.
As one of the truck drivers pointed out, they were affected by the road blocking by the demonstrators, as they needed several hours to cross this road because of the poor road and the blockage by the demonstrators, besides the road's lack of the most basic safety and security conditions, and their lives are in constant danger on this. The road, especially at night, is lack of visibility.
The people of the region showed that blocking the road in this way is a message to the concerned authorities to respond to the demands of citizens in the region to resume work on this main road because neglecting this road will have negative consequences for the region and citizens alike. And if the government does not respond to these demands, they will completely block the road in front of trucks.
Governmentally, no government statement or statement was issued. As for security, no security forces member was monitored in the area. As for the media, there were a few media channels to cover the event and spread the news on social media.
The reasons for the demonstration / the demands of the demonstrators
By reviewing the demonstration that occurred, the most prominent reasons that led to its launch are:
Notes on the security authorities' handling of gatherings:
No member of the security forces was detected in both demonstrations, and this matter can be considered a negative sign of how the security forces dealt with citizens' protests. As one of the first tasks of the security forces is to preserve the safety and lives of citizens. The absence of security forces during the demonstrations to regulate their movement and protect their peace can be considered a weakness in the performance of the security forces.