Report Feb #2 23 En

شبكة رصد

للحق في التجمع السلمي

تقرير منظمة كردستان لمراقبة حقوق الانسان حول وضع اللتظاهرات في العراق

The water crisis in Iraq brings citizens back to the sit-in squares

 Providing water for irrigation and agriculture has become one of the chronic problems in Iraq, especially in some agricultural areas that depend mainly on river water sources and irrigation projects implemented by the government to support farmers to obtain enough water foragriculture.

The government's inability to provide sufficient irrigation water prompted farmers to stage a sit-in to demand that the government work to solve this crisis, which is now threatening agriculture in Iraq. In this report, the demonstrations that were monitored by the monitoring team 

Graduates and contractors in government institutions increasingly seek permanent employment as it is an important source of economic security.

during the second half of February 2023 in several Iraqi governorates will be reviewed.

  • Najaf Governorate demonstrations 02-26-2023

The province of Al-Najafwitnessed a vigil by farmers and farmers of several areas in the province(Al-Mishkhab, Al-Qadisiyah, and Al-Manathira) on Sunday morning. From the citycenter, hundreds of farmers gathered in a vigil to demand their share of waterto irrigate their crops. During the demonstration, the call for thisdemonstration was made through social media, after the farmers continued tosuffer due to the lack of irrigation water. The gathering and mobilizationbegan in the city of Al-Mishkhab by the farmers and representatives of thisstand, and from there they headed to the city center, specifically in front ofthe building of the Directorate of Water Resources. The demonstration began byraising slogans that included several demands, most notably:

1- Providing a water share tocomplete the irrigation process for the wheat crop for not less than a week,due to the damage to the crops as a result of the delay in providing thefarmers with the water needed to irrigate the crops for more than 75 days.

2- Setting a timetable forproviding the water quota for orchards and livestock, and it must be adheredto.

3- Installing floating electricpumps on the banks of rivers in the Al-Mashkhab district

4- Justice in the distributionof water shares within the holy city of Najaf


A positive response was shown bythe local government towards the demands of the demonstrators, as the directorof water resources in the governorate, Mr. - Shaker Fayez Al-Awi - and wasaccompanied by a representative - Jawad Aweez Al-Azali - expressed solidaritywith the farmers' demands, which they considered legitimate.

 On the other hand, the Director of Water Resources explained that water scarcity is very severe, and everyone must adhere to the schedule prepared by the Ministry. A lack of water imports from upstream countries - Turkey and Iran - limits the availability of water. According to the Director of Water Resources, the Ministry of Irrigation is continuing to provide water shares for the governorate to secure additional irrigation sources through the higher authority of the General Authority and the Ministry of Irrigation, and our work continues to demand that the water share be provided for the governorate.

Photo (1)

Director of Water Resources, Mr. Shaker Al-Awi, listens to the demands of the demonstrators

The demonstration continued peacefully until it ended after the demonstrators handed over their demands in the form of a statement to the Director of the Water Resources Directorate. The Director promised to deliver the demonstrators' demands to the competent authorities at the Public Authority.

A few hours after the end of the vigil, a quick response came from the concerned parties in the government by agreeing to release the water share through the Nazem Al-Mashkhab canal located in Al-Mashkhab district on February 27. He also indicated - media of water resources in Najaf - that the government will work to secure water access to all agricultural lands included in the province for the winter agricultural season.

In terms of security, the security forces cooperated with the protesters and dealt professionally with the demonstrators. Their work was limited to providing protection for the demonstrators and organizing them. Media coverage of the demonstration was limited to social networking sites, particularly Facebook, and no media channels were monitored.

  • Demonstrations in Sulaymaniyah Governorate (Darbandikhan District) 02-26-2023

The demonstrations in Darbandikhan district are entering their third week without a significant

response from the government, as the sit-ins of the people of Darbandikhan continue to supply water and electricity. To renew these demands, hundreds of demonstrators marched out on Sunday to demand that the government provide potable water in addition to providing electricity. This was considered one of the basics of life, which the government should provide to citizens. It is known that the Darbandikhan district owns one of the huge

The passage of nearly a month since the demonstrations in this area and the lack of response by the government could have negative repercussions on the lives of citizens.

services. The demands of the demonstrators are still centered on the need to complete the water treatment project and provide basic services to the region. This includes paving roads, providing

drinking water, and increasing electricity supply hours.

 One of the demonstrators indicated that the government is not serious about solving the problems of citizens in the area, as evidenced by the fact that they have been in this state for nearly a month, and there is little response from the government. Despite the sit-ins and demonstrations by the people of the region now, the government is still completely ignorant of what is happening with the citizens in the region. Setting up tents and announcing an open sit-in is only another attempt to urge the government to respond to the demands of citizens in the region and to start implementing service projects in the district.

Photo (2)

Part of the Darbandikhan demonstrations due to poor services 

Although the citizens had been given a deadline to work on solving the problems they are suffering from now.

  The government did not respond to these demands, which made the citizens disappointed in obtaining any services from the government side of the region. Which is represented in the provision of water and electricity and the restoration of the linking road in Sulaymaniyah Governorate.

Governmentally, no official statement was issued by the government to respond to the demonstrators' demands. As for security, no presence of security forces was detected in the area. As for the media, it was noticed that there are a number of media channels, including SPEDA, NRT, in addition to social networking sites.


The reasons for the demonstrations / the demands of the demonstrators

By reviewing the demonstrations and events in a number of Iraqi governorates, it becomes clear that the most prominent reasons that led to their launch are as follows:

  • Low basic services.
  • Providing safe drinking water
  • Saving electrical energy





Notes on the security authorities' handling of gatherings:

In general, the demonstrations were peaceful and focused on providing the basics of life and means of living. Such demonstrations can be considered a reflection of the bad reality that the Iraqi citizen lives in, in addition to the weakness of the administrative side in the country. The treatment of the security authorities was different, as they were characterized by peacefulness and professionalism in dealing with the demonstrators in a number of demonstrations, but they tended to ignore the demonstrators in other situations during the demonstrations. Ignoring the demonstrators and not adhering to the professional duty towards the demonstrations and sit-ins by the security forces can be taken as a negative indicator of the behavior of the security forces to carry out their duties towards the demonstrators, especially in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Kurdistan Organization for Human Right Watch


Email: Reports@kohrw.org