Report Dec #1 EN

شبكة رصد

للحق في التجمع السلمي

تقرير منظمة كردستان لمراقبة حقوق الانسان حول وضع اللتظاهرات في العراق

The alarm of limiting freedoms and the use of violence against demonstrators threaten the path of democracy .

Preliminary readings show the size of the challenges facing the new government in Iraq since Muhammad Shyaa Al-Sudani  took office assumed the presidency of the government and won the confidence of Parliament. The new government seeks to change the administrative and political system. Clearly, in all aspects of the Iraqi state, in addition to working to provide better services to citizens, which is what referred by many observers of Iraqi affairs. But despite all the changes that Sudani is working on, the multiple files knock on the door of the Sudanese government and make the challenges ahead of it more prominent and more complex, especially after the renewed controversy over the Iraqi law on freedom of expression and the increasing incidence of violence against demonstrators and demonstrations will be reviewed in this report, which were tracked by the monitoring team in several governorates of Iraq during the first part of December 2022.

  • Najaf Governorate demonstrations 12-06-2022

Najaf governorate witnessed two demonstrations during the first half of December. The first demonstration was a protest stand in front of the House of Representatives building in the city, which was organized by the Najaf locality for the Iraqi Communist Party and coordinated with the Democratic Current in Najaf Governorate. This protest aimed to reject the draft law on freedom of expression, which is being discussed in the House of Representatives, because it limits freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate, as the most prominent objections are the combination of freedom of expression, the press and the right to demonstrate. The Iraqi constitution of 2005 guarantees in Article 38 freedom of expression, freedom of the press and printing, freedom of assembly, and peaceful demonstration in all its forms, and this is regulated by law, provided that

it does not conflict with international human rights conventions and instruments to which Iraq is a party. However, the new law includes many penalties and penal clauses on the issue of the right to demonstrate, peaceful assembly, and permission to demonstrate before a specific period.

Dozens of activists, residents, notables, and intellectuals of the city gathered in protest and rejection of the draft discussed in the House of Representatives (the law on freedom of expression). During this vigil, several banners were raised that included expressions opposing the passage of the draft law related to freedom of expression and the right

Freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate are constitutionally guaranteed, and the issuance of laws that contradict this right can be considered a violation of constitutional articles.

to demonstrations, and among these phrases # No to a law Gagging mouths and restricting freedom

Photo (1)

Part of the Najaf local demonstrations of the Iraqi Communist Party

of expression #No to a law that restricts constitutional freedoms, as a sign that the proposed law has a clear violation of the constitutional articles related to the right to demonstrate, and this is what one of the protesters said, "The draft that is being discussed is rejected because it includes restrictions on freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution, as well as Imposing unfair penalties based on texts subject to interpretation and ijtihad, in addition to the absence of a text in the draft obligating the security services to protect peaceful demonstrators, as well as restricting the media in covering demonstrations and mass activities.

The protesters submitted a memorandum of protest in the name of the Najaf Locality of the Iraqi Communist Party and the Najaf Coordination of the Democratic Current. It was received by the Director of the House of Representatives Office in Najaf, Mr. Musallam Al-Shammari, hoping that proposals and detailed observations about the draft law will accompany the memorandum. From a security point of view, the demonstration was peaceful, as there were no signs of violence by the demonstrators, and the role of the security forces was to provide security and protection for the demonstrators. As for the media, the presence of any media outlet covering the demonstration was not monitored.

On the other hand, in Najaf governorate, a protest vigil was organized by the inclusion organization to protect persons with disabilities in partnership with the Euphrates Paradise Cultural Center and the Nebras foundation for the blind on the occasion of the International Day of persons with disabilities.

People with special needs have come out of their silence to demand their rights like other citizens.

This vigil was organized at the twentieth revolution bridges Square in the governorate to demand the rights of people with disabilities and special needs and the presence of dozens of civil society organizations, activists, interested people, a group of people with disabilities, and several media professionals.


The stand included several demands, the most prominent being: the dismissal of the commission for the disabled and linking it to the general secretariat of the Council of ministers and the approval of a fixed salary

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Protesters with special needs demand their rights

for the disabled. In addition to disbursing the accumulated financial dues allocated to people with disabilities while increasing the percentage of appointments for people with disabilities in government institutions. Political empowerment and participation in decision-making with health insurance and housing provision. Construction and development of roads, sidewalks, circuit buildings, and traffic signals with integrated engineering for the disabled. In this context, one of the protesters pointed out that their stance today is to demand an amendment to the law on people with disabilities to guarantee the rights of people with special needs, especially Financial Rights, which is the most crucial aspect, in addition to providing 

job opportunities in the government sector in order to ensure their effective integration into society.

Several media channels were present to cover the protest, including the Al-change satellite channel, the Al-trend satellite channel, the Al-Hurra satellite channel, the One News satellite, the Al-Sharqiya satellite channel, and the Tigris satellite channel. On the government side, no government reaction to the protesters ' demands has been observed. As for security, the demonstration was peaceful, and the role of the security forces was limited to protecting and organizing the demonstration without exposing the demonstrators.

  • Demonstrations of Dhi Qar governorate 06-12-2022

Over the past three days, the city of Nasiriyah in the Dhi Qar governorate has seen an increase in the 

of protests and clashes between demonstrators and security forces, resulting in deaths and injuries. This event has brought the city back to the forefront of events, as dozens of demonstrators gathered on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, at Al-haboubi Square - a square in the center of Nasiriyah that was dedicated to the protests of October 2019.

The use of excessive violence and the killing of demonstrators put the issue of rights and freedoms in Iraq into question again.

According to one of the demonstrators, their arrests were based on malicious claims and denounced the policy of silencing mouths and lack of freedom of expression.

Unusually, the events quickly developed into direct clashes between the army and the rapid intervention forces (Swat) on the one hand and the demonstrators on the other. Where the demonstrators were surprised by the attack of riot police on them with random throwing and dispersing them before the media arrived to document

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Photos of demonstrators demanding the release of detainees

the demonstration, now the latest was documented through social media. One of the eyewitnesses at the demonstration said that the demonstrators gathered at the haboubi demonstration Square to demand freedom of opinion. The release of those detained-activist Haider al. Zaidi-who was sentenced to 3 years in prison due to criticizing the popular crowd, but before any media arrived and minutes after the demonstration began, riot cars began to enter the Square. They randomly shot at the demonstrators to disperse them.

The government condemned the events and the demonstrators' repression, formed investigative committees, and sent them to Nasiriyah. Moreover, they replaced the former provincial police commander Saad Harbiya with a new commander, Brigadier General Makki Shia, according to a statement published on the Iraqi Ministry of Interior website. However, one of the activists at the demonstration said that the behavior of the security forces should not go unnoticed; if the incident is not investigated, the consequences will be dire.

The next day, demonstrators gathered at the lobby intersection in the center of Nasiriyah city, the center of Dhi Qar governorate. They burned tires to block the main roads at the lobby intersection and Victory Bridge Road. At the same time, one of the demonstrators burned a security forces Hummer with a bombat and injured three security personnel, one of whom was burned with the substance and seriously injured, which made large security forces intensify at the scene and clash with violent clashes with demonstrators. The confrontations lasted 3 hours, resulting in the death of 2 demonstrators and injuring 16 others from both sides. In response to the events, the local government, through its official spokesman, Abu Hassan al-Badri, announced in a statement that despite the right of citizens to demonstrate, it is not free of infiltrators and vandals trying to return the province to Square one, the goal is to sabotage the province.

During the funeral of the victims' bodies of the demonstrations on Wednesday evening, several demonstrators attacked some police checkpoints and patrols in the city of Nasiriyah. As a result, the governor of Dhi Qar, Mohammed Al-Ghazi, announced the suspension of the official working day for Thursday to mourn the fallen victims' lives. However, one of the activists pointed out that the disruption of work on Thursday is an attempt to alleviate the intensity of the protest and the congestion that may occur between the security forces and the demonstrators in an attempt to avoid casualties, especially since the site of the clashes was close to public schools. However, this increased the fear that students would be injured during the clashes.

The disruption of the official working hours did not bear fruit, as the demonstrations did not end with the disruption of the official working hours. The protests were renewed on Thursday, and demonstrators blocked some main roads and bridges while burning tires in the streets. Riot police and local police withdrew from the site, fearing clashes with protesters.

The monitoring team pointed out that the demonstrations continued until the evening, as the protesters moved towards the governorate office in preparation for burning it. However, they collided with the security forces present to protect the building. Skirmishes with stones continued between

the parties. After that, the protesters headed towards the Nasiriyah municipality, one of the oldest places in the city, and set fire to parts of it.

Based on the observations of the monitoring team, the local government, according to a statement, declared that the rally was not peaceful due to vandalism, arson, attacks on security forces, and burning government cars. Many media channels covered the events. At the time of writing, the situation in the city of Nasiriyah is still unstable.

  • Demonstrations in Babylon governorate on 11-12-2022

Thousands of Iraqis came out on Sunday, 11-12-2022, in demonstrations, which are the first of their kind since the Sudanese took over the government's presidency, which lasted for four days. The gathering began at 8:00 a.m. in front of the Directorate of Education of Babylon by lecturers and contracted workers in

Permanent staff appointment is a financial guarantee for contract workers in Iraq, so it has become one of the main demands in Iraq.

the province of Babylon. The Coordinating Committee of the lecturers of Babylon mobilized this demonstration using social media. As a result, the number of demonstrators doubled to reach thousands of them during the first hours of the demonstration began.

In a step to pressure the government to respond to the demands of the demonstrators, the lecturers of Babylon-led by the Coordinating Committee - emptied the Directorate of employees working in education and then closed it entirely until their demands were met. Then the demonstrators headed to the installation of sit-in tents in front of the gate of the Babil Education Directorate. The demonstrators also announced that the sit-in

would continue until the demands were met: to install a permanent owner. The general coordinating committee, including the Babel lecturers coordination committee, also announced a full-time strike for all contract workers until the demands are met.

Photo (5)

Part of the demonstrations of contract workers in Babil Governorate

After closing the doors of the Directorate of education, the demonstrators headed to Arbaeen street, chanting slogans outlining their demands. The demonstrators also blocked the intersection-Bab al-Hussein for a while and then headed to the governorate building, demanding the governor through loudspeakers to send a letter to the Council of ministers to install them on the permanent owner. Then the demonstrators again went to the Directorate of education to continue the sit-in for two days.

On the second day of the demonstration, hundreds of demonstrators headed to Al-Muhafaza Street, where they gathered in front of the governorate office, renewing their demands to confirm the permanent owners. The Coordination Committee asked the governor to include the file of contract workers on the agenda of the cabinet session that takes place every week on Tuesday; otherwise, they will close the governorate building. Then the lecturers withdrew to Education Street.

On the third day, thousands of lecturers attended in front of the Directorate of Education of Babel on Al-Tarbyah Street, chanting several slogans, including #Installment on permanent owners is

Our demand#. Afterward, the march headed to "Forty Street" and Al-Thawra Square. As an escalation movement, the demonstrators burned tires and closed roads for an hour. After that, the demonstrators moved to the Babil Governorate Office and renewed their demands for permanent owners, threatening to close the governorate building if these demands were not met.

Photo (6)

Another aspect of the demonstrations in Babylon is the demonstrators' right to tires.

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The rally in front of the Babil governorate building was closed by demonstrators.

The sit-in continued in front of the Directorate until the announcement of the results of the cabinet meeting. Unfortunately, during the announcement of the minutes of the cabinet meeting and its outputs, it was found that the issue of the lecturers needed to be addressed during the meeting. Therefore, as an escalating step, the coordinating committees in Iraq decided collectively, including the Babylon Lecturers Committee, to take several escalatory steps for the fourth day, including the closure of all educational institutions, the provincial office, and teachers' unions in the provinces.

On the fourth day of the demonstration, hundreds of lecturers gathered in front of the Babylon Education Center, waiting for the march to move. After that, the lecturers went on an upward march to several institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Education, including the New Education Building, the Directorate of Educational Supervision, and the Teacher's Syndicate. They closed them after expelling the employees working in them. After that, the lecturers' march went to the Babil Governorate Court, and they gathered in front of the gate, demanding that the governor go out to address them and close the governorate. When it became clear that the governor was not in the governorate building, the Coordinating Committee, in collaboration with the Governorate Protection Force, removed the employees and closed the governorate office. One of the demonstrators - indicated that all these steps are a reaction to the procrastination they noticed in the case of not confirming them in the cabinet session.

Governmentally, no government statement was issued in this regard, despite the continuation of the demonstrations for several days. As for the security forces, they adhered to their professionalism, despite the escalatory steps taken by the demonstrators now. The security forces handled the situation professionally, and their work was limited to organizing the demonstration without interfering.

The causes of the demonstrations / the demands of the demonstrators

By reviewing the demonstrations and events in several Iraqi provinces, it becomes clear that the most prominent reasons that led to their launch are the following:

  • Protest against the draft law on freedoms submitted to Parliament

* Demanding the rights of people with disabilities.

* Revealing the fate of demonstrators and activists detained in demonstrations.

  • Installation on the permanent Angel


Remarks on the security authorities ' handling of gatherings:

The performance of the security forces is still below the required level, not to mention in several Iraqi provinces, including Dhi-Qar province, as the use of violence and the killing of demonstrators and their arrest have become frequent in more than one event during the past period. It makes the work of the security forces and their professionalism in dealing with the demonstrators questionable. In contrast to other provinces, the security forces ' handling of events is entirely different. Hence, it can be said that the observed behavior of the security forces is subject to the instructions of the local government rather than being institutional forces subject to the federal government. Therefore, the unprofessionalism of the security forces and their brutality and cruelty in addressing human rights in Iraq casts doubt on the detention of protestors and activists during past protests. It puts the issue of the professionalism of the security forces into question.

Kurdistan Organization for Human Right Watch


Email: Reports@kohrw.org