شبكة رصد

للحق في التجمع السلمي

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تقرير منظمة كردستان لمراقبة حقوق الانسان حول وضع اللتظاهرات في العراق

Iraqis receive Ramadan month with another wave of crises
Accusations against the government of negligence and encouragement of corruption

The continued suffering of citizens triggered a new wave of protests in Iraq, coinciding with the advent of the month of Ramadan. Angry mass protests in Iraqi provinces became the only way to force the government to provide services and respond to popular demands. The angry voices denounced the situation and demanded that effective solutions be found to take the country out of the current circumstances. As in previous months, the government's reactions and security measures to the demonstrations and sit-ins varied in terms of the use of violence. However, they were ignoring the demonstrators' demands and trying to deal with them professionally. In this report, the demonstrations monitored by the monitoring team during the first half of April 2022 will be reviewed.

Demonstrations in Wasit governorate

Peaceful demonstrations have not prevented security forces from using violence against demonstrators

Demonstrations and sit-ins organized by a group of non-lecturers began in front of the Education Directorate of Wasit governorate, demanding that they be appointed to contracts in the institutions of the Education Directorate. The demonstration began peacefully as

there was no violence by security forces against the demonstrators. Nevertheless, a dangerous and sudden development occurred in the sit-in in front of the Directorate of Education on 10/4/2022,

Figure (1)

Several injured protesters were found in one of the governorate's hospitals.

at three o'clock. The security forces beat the protesters during the protesters ' sit-in in front of the Directorate unexpectedly. In addition,
security officers set fire to tents set up by protesters, which made for the sit-in. Remarkably, the violence was not random, according to the security authorities, as the violence came from the issuance of orders by officials in the province, the police command. The Directorate of Education to break up the sit-in and reopen the main gate of
the Directorate, which was closed because of this sit-in since the beginning of this year, in addition to reopening the street opposite the Directorate (the place of the sit-in), which was closed by the protesters.

An eyewitness at the scene of the sit-in said that a heavily armed security force entered the sit-in suddenly, which caused a clash between the protesters to present at the scene of the demonstration and the security forces, consequently leading to the injury of some protesters. Seriously injured protesters were taken to Al-Zahra Hospital near the incident scene. One of the protesters also said that the force that intervened to break up the sit-in was armed with weapons, sticks, and batons, which caused panic among the protesters. These events took place away from the media but were monitored and documented by some protesters who used their mobile phones. Social media and many local activists also shared videos of the moment the security forces attacked the protesters and posted videos and photos of injured protesters at the scene and in the hospital. Hours after the clash, they ended with the intervention of a local government delegation - as a third party -formed by the Wasit governorate Bureau, a representative of the Wasit Police Command,

Figure (2)

Another aspect of the students’ demonstration in Wasit governorate

and a representative of the Education Directorate. The delegation disengaged and withdrew the security forces present and retained a small number of the - 10 members of the security forces to protect the sit-in. It is worth mentioning that during the clash, there were no severe injuries, and no casualties were recorded among the protesters or the security forces. After communicating with one of the


protesters, the monitoring team learned that on the evening of the same day, the graduates contacted a group of decision-makers in the province, namely MP - Ali Faraj-deputy - Mahassen Al-Dulaimi - and Deputy-Sondos al - Lami-who, in turn, raised the demands of the demonstrators to the presidency of the Council of ministers.

Demonstrations in Maysan province

Demonstrations in Maysan province against the government's failure to provide services, where

Water pollution and disease have become a new threat to the lives of citizens

demonstrations began again in the area of peace. Hundreds of citizens from different groups demonstrated, and the tribes in the province supported the demonstration. According to an activist named Nabil, The organizer of the

demonstration, the demonstration began to demand a change in the drainage of sewage from the

Figure (3)

Salam District protesters against heavy water treatment plant

sewage treatment plant in Al - Batira, located in the Abu Saba area of Al –Maimouna, from where it flows into the AL-Batira River. The sewage problem enabled in that the plant was built in 2006 and was intended to refine the sewage and turn it into potable water, but the failure of pumps and the lack of chemicals so that it is overloaded with sewage and pollutants that drain it across the river Al-batira down to the marshes.

Sabri Hashim, the mayor of Maimouna, pointed out that the reason for the demonstration is due to the demand of the sewage treatment

Figure (4)

It shows clan support for protesters

to the demand of the sewage treatment plant to lift the heavy water that flows into the river because it negatively affects the lives of citizens in the region, so it caused a lot of skin and intestinal diseases of citizens. There are indications of contamination in the liquefaction plants and the death of animals in addition to the death of crops. Therefore, the protesters cut off the main Peace Road to force the concerned authorities to respond to their
demands, as these areas have been included in the World Heritage list because they are within the marshes' geographical area, which obliges the central government to provide water to them.

However, the scarcity of water in the river and the continued dumping of sewage into the river caused their diseases, and this in itself was a breach and genocide, they said.


In response to the demonstrations, the local government ordered the formation of a committee to follow up on the issue and after assessing the situation by the committee. It raised recommendations, the first of which was to change the stream of sewage coming out of Abu Saba station and increase the water releases into the AL-Batira River to push the heavy water that was discharged into the river towards the marshes. Al-Marabid, Al-Soubya, and Dijla channels were available to cover the demonstration.

Demonstrations in Najaf province


Under the slogan of the people's livelihood red line and coinciding with the month of Ramadan, Najaf province witnessed a significant rise in food prices, which greatly affected the simple class and people with limited incomes. Therefore, in an unprecedented gesture of its kind, a demonstration took place in the city of Najaf led by the Iraqi Communist Party and in coordination with the Union of Najaf workers and the Coordination of the national trend to demand the cancellation of the new pricing of the electrical unit issued by the Iraqi government. This demonstration was organized to support the working class and low-income people in front of the Najaf supply department opposite the University of Kufa. The choice of the stop in this place (supply department) was because of its primary association with the Ministry of Commerce; the second reason is due to the consideration that the supply department is the first responsible for the processing of the ration card items in the city, which is the essential requirement in this stop. Dozens of protesters rallied to pressure the government to increase the ration card vocabulary and control or limit the rise in food prices, calling on the government to intervene and take the necessary measures. The vigil began peacefully by holding up signs that had been printed demanding that the government address the issue of high prices. According to one of the demonstrators, we call on the government to find solutions to the problem of rising food prices and complete the ration card vocabulary. Therefore, we stood today peacefully to pressure the concerned parties to find solutions as soon as possible, especially since the rise in oil prices led to an increase in state imports, which can be benefited by increasing the ration items while finding radical solutions to the problem of rising food prices.


Although media channels were absent to cover the demonstration, they were covered through social media sites, particularly the Facebook app. However, until the end of the demonstrations, no government response was monitored for the demands made at the vigil, and no security forces were monitored.

Demonstrations in Basra province


The province of Basra witnessed a demonstration of dozens of contract owners within thirty thousand degrees and owners of ministerial contracts and staff owners in front of the building of the Electricity Department of Shatt Basra in Zubair district near the oil company of the Shuaiba

Figure (6)

Showing the presence of security forces during the demonstration of citizens in Basra


area to demand the cancellation of the investment of the power plant, which requires the dispensation of most of the employees working in the department and hires replacements and the use of a limited number of them not to exceed 250 people. The demonstrators also demanded the reinstatement of Saddam Mahdi Mohsen, the representative of the protest, to his job after he was dismissed from it during his dismissal because of standing by the demonstrators and demanding their rights.


From Mohammed Al-Qasim street, protesters headed towards the gate of the Shatt Basra electricity department in the Shuaiba area, chanting slogans and demanding that the sale of the Shatt Basra power station be stopped. Through a statement issued, the protesters called on the government to review the issue of privatization of power plants in the province as it would negatively affect employees working on contracts. They also called for swift intervention by the governor of Basra - Asaad Al – Eidani-to prevented the delivery of the project of the power plant of Shatt Al-Basra company to (Karr) and called on the competent authorities to keep the employees in the company; their numbers are about thirty thousand employees. Mustafa, one of the demonstrations representatives, said that the minister of electricity was met, and the negative repercussions were reviewed in the event of taking over the management of the power plant (car).


Figure (7)

A copy of the administrative order to
reinstate Saddam Al- Halafi for his job

Figure (8)

One protester was found lying on the ground after being assaulted by security forces.


Especially after the latter announced its intention to lay off the services of many employees because their salaries could not be covered, the meeting, according to the representative of the protesters, was not fruitful. So the protesters turned to MP Adi Awad - an official in Parliament – who expressed his readiness to support the demonstrators and called for the start of a
demonstration and cut off the street Mohammed AlQasim leading to the station to force the company to respond to the demands of the demonstrators. As the demonstration continued, many Deputies and officials from Basra province intervened, including "Adi Awad, Alaa Al-Haidari, Suhaila al-ajrash, and others," expressing their support for the popular demands and joining their voices along with the voices of the demonstrators. From the government side, there was a response to one of the demands of the protesters, namely the return of Saddam al – Halafi, head of the mechanics union in the Union of the workers union, to his job after he was sacked and terminated by the Ministry of electricity. The demonstrators also confirmed that they would continue the demonstrations until they achieved the rest of their demands during a statement issued by the demonstrators outlining their demands not to privatize the power plant.


At the beginning of the demonstration, there were no signs of the use of force by the security forces, as it proceeded peacefully during the early hours, but the course of the demonstration took another turn when the security forces began attacking the demonstrators with batons. Riot police and SWAT forces were called in to control the demonstration, but as
soon as the voices of the demonstrators and their condemnation of the sale of the station to the investment company Carr, the security forces attacked the demonstrators, which resulted in the protests in some wounded among them. These events were covered by some media channels, including al Madain news agency and al- Ahd TV.



Demonstrations in Babylon Province


In response to the Coordinating Committee of the lecturers of Babylon gathered, hundreds of lecturers protested in front of the education of Babylon, which lasted for several hours, where the demonstrators demanded that they be fixed on the permanent staff like others. After the application or the appointment was submitted to the Ministry of education, they were informed that their right

The idea of the Emergency Support Law for Food Security and Development aims to provide 12 meals within the ration card instead of 10 meals so that it provides 35% of Iraq's food needs.

to install permanent owners would be approved by the Ministry of Finance and the Council of Ministers on the 2022 budget. Nevertheless, this response did not satisfy the lecturers because of the delay in the formation of the new government and the failure to approve the budget for 2022, so the demonstrators demanded that in the case of failure to approve the budget for 2022 or delayed, include them in the food security law.

 

The fact that this law obliges the Ministry of Finance to allocate funds to finance the projects of ministries every month by 35% will enhance opportunities to improve citizens' living conditions. Therefore, the lecturers demanded that the House of Representatives add a paragraph guaranteeing their transfer to permanent employees through

Figure (9)

Showing the lecturers of Babylon in front of the
Directorate of education in the province

Figure (10)

Showing the neutrality of the security forces in dealing with protesters

Demonstrations in Sulaymaniyah province

Figure (11)

Shows a side of the student gathering in front of the entrance to the University of Sulaymaniyah


enforcing Law 315 for contract workers in Iraq. If the budget is not approved, the House of Representatives should consider the possibility of installing lecturers within the draft food security law. On the other hand, because of the situation experienced by the protesters, they demanded the dismissal of the Minister of Education because of his indifference to the transfer of lecturers to the permanent employees legally and his lack of seriousness in addressing the dossier of lecturers. There was no media or television coverage of the demonstration, and the matter was limited to circulating the topic on some social media pages. Security forces have dealt with the protesters. The presence of the security forces helped to ensure that the demonstration was peaceful and helped organize the movement.



Although the government did not officially respond to the demonstrators' demands, the demonstration attracted the attention of MP - D. Haider al-Salami - after listening to the lecturers of Babylon and discussing them with the Coordinating Committee inside the demonstration. He promised to make unremitting efforts to employ the lecturers in the 2022 budget. Despite the end of the demonstration hours after its start, the Coordinating Committee of the lecturers of Babylon announced its intention to return to the sit-in after Eid al-Fitr to ensure that the concerned parties meet their demands


As an extension of the past months, the students of the University of Sulaymaniyah gathered in front of the presidency of the university in the early hours of the morning to express their protest against the delay in the disbursement of monthly grants to them and asked the presidency of the university and the government to work on the disbursement of monthly allocations that the government of the region promised to spend monthly on students. After the government had promised to disburse financial allocations to students, the students only received these allocations once as they were nearing the end of the academic year. According to the student protesters, this delay is deliberate inaction by the government to buy time and promise to fulfill its promises to the students. "Despite the small size of the amount received by the student,

there are some students who rely on this allocation to continue studying, especially after the crises faced by the region in terms of a delayed payment of salaries of employees or deducting them," said the spokesman for the student protesters. The spokesperson for the student protesters also said that if their demands were not met, they would resort to a sit-in at the university and close the university's doors. No television channels were detected, but the demonstration was circulated on social media pages. There was no security force presence except for the university's security forces. Far from he university and in the province of Sulaymaniyah, and under the slogan - Where are our stolen salaries - dozens of workers in the municipality of Peeramagnoon gathered and held a sit-in because they did not receive their monthly salaries due. The protesters cut off the main road

Figure (12)

Shows a side of the student gathering in front of the entrance to the University of Sulaymaniyah


between Sulaymaniyah and the tourist city of Dokan, causing claustrophobic traffic  jam. However, security forces intervened, leading to some skirmishes between security forces and protesters, but there was little violence. After the demonstration continued for several hours, the security forces dispersed the demonstrators and opened the road again. At the governmental level, the municipality promised to pay the workers' salaries within a short period. Despite the government's promises to pay the Workers, organizers have threatened to resume the rally again if the government fails to keep its promises. Several television channels were monitored, including their station, which covered the protest and circulated it through social media.


Reasons for demonstrations/demands of demonstrators


By reviewing the demonstrations and events in several Iraqi provinces can review the most
prominent reasons that led to the start of the demonstrations :


* Poor services and lack of primary resources.
* Widespread corruption
* Demand the government to pay unpaid salaries.
* Demand employment opportunities in government institutions.


Remarks on the security authorities ' handling of gatherings


It can be said that the demonstrations were not peaceful in all governorates, and the reactions of the security forces were not literal in all demonstrations; in several demonstrations, the reactions of the security forces led to a change in the course of the demonstration and the loss of its peace. In addition, the absence of security forces in some demonstrations can be seen as an indicator of the government's failure to meet popular demands or not take them seriously. In general, it can be said that the security forces' treatment of the demonstrators was different; in some demonstrations, the security forces dealt professionally and professionally. However, they resorted to neglecting the demonstration and not interfering in the protest movement, and their position was more than the position of the spectators than the security forces during the demonstrations


Kurdistan organization for human right watch

www.KOHRW.org

Email: Reports@kohrw.org