Report Mar #1 23 En

شبكة رصد

للحق في التجمع السلمي

تقرير منظمة كردستان لمراقبة حقوق الانسان حول وضع اللتظاهرات في العراق

Citizens are under the weight of a (red alert) that threatens their livelihoods and forces them to take to the streets again

Despite successive Iraqigovernments trying to improve the dire reality of the country, they facevarious obstacles, part of which is related to the decisions themselves. Inaddition, part of this is related to the implementation mechanism of thedecisions. The Iraqi government, for example, appointed a number of contractworkers on permanent staff a month ago, but many contract workers weren'tincluded in this decision. Decisions to reorganize cities sometimes causefinancial losses to citizens, as they can be considered affected by thosereforms, which prompts them to go out in demonstrations and sit-ins to demand.Considering these outputs, the Iraqi government must reorganize its cards inits reform plan. We will review in this report the demonstrations that weremonitored by the monitoring team during the first half of March 2023 in severalIraqi governorates:

  • Demonstrations in Sulaymaniyah Governorate 03-03-2023

In government institutions, permanent staffing has become one of the basic requirements to guarantee the livelihood of Iraqis.

Photo (1)

A number of demonstrators were contract workers in the High Electoral Commission

 Some of the demonstrators were employees from Erbil Governorate, who came to Sulaymaniyah to participate in the demonstrations

and demand their rights to be appointed to permanent staff. The monitoring team indicated that dozens of Election Commission employees in the province have declared a permanent strike in front of the Commission's headquarters in the center of Sulaymaniyah. This is until they are confirmed on permanent staffing.

This - one of the demonstrators - who is one of the contract employees sitting in front of the department, indicated that the demonstration and the sit-in aim to demand the appointment of permanent staffing like the other

Dozens of contract employees from the Sulaymaniyah Provincial Commission demonstrated and staged a strike today in front of the commission's office in the province to demand their confirmation as employees of the commission.

employees and that the demonstrations will continue until our demand is achieved, which is confirmation, there are no elections without confirmation of contract employees, just as the strike will continue until the issuance of decisions in this regard.

In response to the Prime Minister's decision No. 284 of 2021, the demonstrators urged the High Commission for Elections and the relevant authorities to intervene and work to install them on permanent staffing or to transfer them to operating contracts.

It is noteworthy that the number of contract employees in the office of the Sulaymaniyah Election Commission amounts to more than 400 employees. Their number exceeds more than 3,000 employees throughout Iraq. Governmentally, the governor of Sulaymaniyah issued a statement in which he indicated his support for the demonstrators, as he promised to deliver the voices of the demonstrators to the Iraqi Prime Minister - Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani - and on the one hand, the Prime Minister confirmed that he would seriously follow up on this file to find out the reasons for not including the workers in the High Electoral Commission in the decision to appoint permanent staffing. As for security, no presence of security forces was detected in the area. It was noted that there are several media channels, such as the Shafaq News channel, as well as social networking sites.

photo (2)

It was shown that the governor of Sulaymaniyah handed over the file of contract workers to Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani

  • Kirkuk Governoratedemonstrations 07-03-2023

After stability that lasted for more than a year, tensions returned to the streets in Kirkuk

Governorate. This is because the local government issued a decision to close the shops located near the station for transporting passengers from Kirkuk Governorate to other governorates. Considering that these stores are located inside the city and negatively affect the aesthetic appearance of the governorate, the District Commissioner

If the dimensions of government decisions are not examined in relation to the lives of the citizens affected by the decision, they may have a negative impact.

decided to move these stores to areas outside the city center. This decision led to the drivers' condemnation of this decision, which they viewed as an explicit threat to their source of livelihood. They also considered a lack of planning by the provincial council in this regard. It is very far from the new areas designated for them, which will negatively affect them.

The demonstrator - who is one of the shop owners - indicated that they are of limited income, that in each of these shops, there are dozens of people who live on this work, and that moving from their place of employment adversely affects their lives.

As a response, the demonstratorsburned tires on the public road, as an expression of their rejection of theprovincial commissioner's decision. For his part, the governor of Kirkukgovernorate indicated that this decision was issued to preserve the publicinterest and the aesthetics of the governorate. This is because these shops arelocated in the city center. They affect the area from an aesthetic point ofview and cause crowding in the streets, which affects citizens in general.

photo (3)

It was found that the demonstrators burned tires in denunciation of the decision of the Kirkuk District Commissioner to move the passenger transport station

In terms of security, the security forces-maintained neutrality concerning the demonstrations. This was because their work was limited to opening the road and organizing traffic without clashing with the demonstrators. As forthe media, there were several media channels, including the Payam channel, inaddition to social media.

  • Najaf Governoratedemonstrations 03-10-2023

The demonstration started at exactly ten o'clock in the morning on Friday, when hundreds of

sports fans, as well as activists and the people of the region, came out in the Kufa district, specifically near the stadium and hall of the Kufa Club, where the spark of protest began by the fans of the Najafi sports club after the loss of the Najaf club to the counterpart of the Baghdad Municipality in the Iraq Cup tournament in Football and the club's exit from the championship. 

Corruption in Iraq has spread to all outlets of the Iraqi state. Even sports have not been spared by the science of corruption that is now spreading throughout Iraq.

Due to the team's decline in performance, the fans of Al-Najaf Club became very angry and protested, blaming the current management for it. On the other hand, the administrative body of the Al-Najaf Club announced that there would be elections. What is remarkable is that the election process and the selection of candidates were not on a technocratic basis, but based on nepotism - as one of the demonstrators pointed out - as a public body, they were chosen from the relatives and friends of the members of the administrative body.

The mobilization began with demonstrations and calls by the Najaf Sports Fans Association on social media to cancel the elections that took place and re-run fair elections. The demonstrators announced their rejection of these elections and their protest against the current mismanagement of the Najaf Club, and they chanted several slogans, including - demanding that the Minister of Youth and Sports dissolve the Olympic Committee as a result of repeated mistakes and fighting with

the provincial clubs, as well asother slogans calling for a change. According to one of thedemonstrators, these demonstrations are against the so-called management of theNajaf Club. Today, the Najaf Club does not exist in the administration. Theevidence is the repeated losses and 

photo (4)

A demonstration that took place in the province of Najaf

the decline of the team in this season, as well as in previous seasons, due to corruption that exists in the administration. Demanding the selection of a real administration to run Najaf Club.


On the other hand, some members of the committee expressed solidarity with the Najaf fans, as the captain - Kazem Hussein - the former player of Al-Najaf club and the youth coach of Al-Najaf club for the previous season, explained the captain - Diaa Abbas - the former player of Al-Najaf club and assistant coach of the youth of Al-Najaf club for the previous season. As Diaa Abbas indicated - as members of a public body, we renew our previous position to boycott the forged Najaf club elections and announce that we will not attend the electoral conference that the administrative body intends to hold illegal and fair elections to choose a permanent administrative body for the club.

This escalated the protest and anger of the demonstrators upon the arrival of a delegation and members of the administrative body to conduct the scheduled electoral process. The demonstrators’ response to this body prevented them from entering the hall, which led to the postponement of the elections. Which lasted about three hours.

In the media, satellite channels, media professionals, and journalists had a role in transmitting the event from the most important channels (Al-Rabaa satellite channel, Al-Iraqiya sports channel, News satellite channel, Koura satellite channel), as well as social networking sites that had the greatest role in transmitting and covering all events. As for security, there was a large presence of security forces. These forces included approximately more than 200 security personnel from the riot forces, SWAT, and the Federal Police. They worked to protect and organize these demonstrations, and their work was limited to maintaining the peacefulness of the demonstration without interfering with it.

The reasons for the demonstrations / the demands of the demonstrators

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

  • Appointment of permanent staff in the government sector.
  • Addressing corruption
  • Objection to government decisions
  • Demanding fair local elections


Notes on the security authorities' handling of gatherings:

While monitoring the behavior of the security forces during the recent demonstrations, the security forces showed remarkable progress in dealing with the demonstrators. They also worked professionally in managing the demonstrations. The decrease in the index of the use of violence raises the question of the professionalism of the security forces in dealing with demonstrations within a positive framework and perspective. The progress of the work of the security forces and their professionalism may restore the path of democratic action to its proper place. This includes issues related to human rights and freedom of expression in Iraq.

Kurdistan Organization for Human Right Watch


Email: Reports@kohrw.org