Report May #1 En

شبكة رصد

للحق في التجمع السلمي

تقرير منظمة كردستان لمراقبة حقوق الانسان حول وضع اللتظاهرات في العراق

Sit-ins and protest demonstrations calling for amending the salary scale

Amending the salaryscale was and still is one demand that citizens have called for, as it is onesource of income improvement for citizens. Also, adjusting the salary scale isone of the main points for justice among employees. To pressure the government,thousands of employees showed up in Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces,demanding a change in their salaries. Throughout the past few years, Iraqi citizenshave been suffering from a suffocating economic crisis. In this report, severaldemonstrations monitored by the monitoring team during the first half of May /2023 in several Iraqi governorates will be reviewed:

  • Baghdadgovernorate demonstrations 01-05-2023

The salary scale is to return government employees to the sit-in squares. Through social media, activists called for a demonstration in the Baghdad governorate. According to Mustafa Hafez, a member of the Coordinating Committee for Amending the Salary Scale, the current salary scale is unfair and does not reflect the inflation rate in the Iraqi market, justifying this appeal. This statement emphasizes that a demonstration will continue until the government responds to the demonstrators' demands to amend the salary scale, which has not been updated in 14 years.

It would be reasonable to consider the issue of reconsidering the salary scale for employees as a major point in the general scene in Iraq, as the issue of economic security has become a major issue that the Iraqi government must address.

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Shows a number of demonstrators during the vigil

In response to the activists’ call for the demonstration, thousands of employees of the Iraqi ministries went out on Monday, corresponding to 01-05-2023 at ten o’clock in the morning, to demand an amendment to the salary scale, before its approval in the budget for the year 2023. This demonstration was an attempt to put pressure on the ethnic government, as the demonstrators were directed to the Green Zone and they met either the gate of the Green Zone

The Supreme Coordinating Committee for Iraqi employees gave the Council of Ministers 72 hours

demonstrators are convinced that the new salary scale works to reduce the differences between the salaries of employees in the various ministries and that the new scale does not mean unfairness to holders of higher degrees or employees of ministries that have a high risk in their jobs, such as the Ministry of Electricity, but it will improve the standard of living of income limited. Jamal Kochar, a member of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, indicated that if the salary scale law is sent and amended after the approval of the federal budget for the year 2023, we will have more than one option, including amending the salary scale within the current amount without additions, i.e. reducing the upper salaries and increasing the minimum salaries within the limited ceiling. The salary scale can be included in the budget, a supplementary budget, or postponed until 2024. The Parliamentary Legal Committee stated that implementing the salary scale project will not make up a financial burden on the state, since funds will be circulated among the different salaries.

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Another side is the sit-ins during the vigil to amend the salary scale

The Staff Coordination also stated in a statement issued after organizing the demonstrations that it gives the government 72 hours to vote on the salary scale during the cabinet session, and if the voice of the oppressed is not heard, escalation steps will be announced. Besides the above, he - the demonstrators - showed that the government is seeking procrastination and procrastination with employees who deserve to adjust their salaries, so this demonstration urged the government to expedite the amendment of the salary scale as soon as possible. It is worth mentioning that the

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Pictures of demonstrators covering their faces due to tear gas

to approve the amended salary scale. - one demonstrator stated that the salary scale is unfair, especially since there are employees who receive low salaries that are not in line with the continuous high prices that the country is witnessing. This demonstration gives justice to the segment of employees whose salaries are low and living costs are high.

Governmentally, the government did not issue any reactions or explicit statements. As for security, intense security deployment was observed in the Green Zone. Despite the peaceful demonstration, the security forces did not adhere to their professionalism in dealing with the demonstrations. The security forces used tear gas. To deal with the demonstrators and disperse them. And that the matter did not develop, things quickly calmed down between the demonstrators and the security forces. After the demonstrators indicated they would continue their sit-ins until the government responded to their legitimate demands, the demonstration ended late at night.

Demonstrations inDhi Qar Governorate on 01-05-2023

On Monday 1-5-2023 at8:30 am, hundreds of employees and educators turned out in massivedemonstrations. This was in response to the call made by several activists onsocial media to hold a demonstration in several Iraqi governorates. Thedemonstration coincided with a general mobilization of all state employees inBaghdad and the rest of the provinces. Demonstrators in Nasiriyah, theadministrative center of the Dhi Qar Governorate, demanded an amendment to thesalary scale from the Dhi Qar Governorate Office building.

The demonstrators in Nasiriyah expressed their categorical rejection of the salary scale in its current form. This has passed since its approval (14) years. They considered it inconsistent with social justice for the Iraqi employee. The demonstrators' demands focus on approving an updated salary scale that achieves a decent living for the employee. This is considering the high cost of living. This is under Article Fourteen of the Iraqi constitution, which states that Iraqis are equal in rights and duties. The demonstrators also threatened to escalate and strike if their demands were ignored. The demonstrators also raised slogans and banners calling on the Iraqi government to consider the current salary scale, which is unfair to citizens with limited incomes.

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Photos of demonstrators in Dhi Qar Governorate

The monitoring team met the protester - Hazem Al-Ghazi - who asked not to mention his government department, that the income of the Iraqi individual now is not commensurate with the high prices and exorbitant rents, so we demand justice among the members of the same people economically and socially and improve the living situation, otherwise there will be a revolution for the hungry - as he said -.

It lasted approximately three hours under protecting the security forces. These forces provided them with a smooth demonstration and facilitated the entry of local media institutions to film and cover the event. As for the government, no statement was issued by the government agencies. The presence of security forces in the area was limited to organizing the demonstration, as the security forces did not issue any reactions that would provoke the demonstrators. Therefore, it can be said that the demonstration continued intact until its end. Therefore, it can be said that the security forces in Nasiriyah fulfilled their commitment to facilitate the movement of peaceful demonstrations and not to attack them. Rather, the security forces found the demonstrators an appropriate distance to protect them.

Demonstrations in Babil Governorate on 05-10-2023

The demonstration was launched after calls for the demonstration through social media, by employees of the ministries with low salaries, including - Education, Agriculture, Municipalities, Water Resources, Construction, and Housing - by mobilizing a media campaign to go out with a

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Photos of demonstrators in Babil Governorate to amend the salary scale

demonstration on Monday, 1-5-2023, when there was a proposal for the salary scale Inside the corridors of the Council of Ministers, which prompted the employees to mobilize with a media campaign for the demonstration, and then they showed on Tuesday in Baghdad and the rest of the central and southern governorates.

The strange thing is on the day of the Council of Ministers session, which is held on Tuesday of every week, peace was not approved within the Council of Ministers session. This prompted the Employees Coordinating Committee, which was formed to follow up on the proposed amendment to the salary scale, to issue a statement calling for a strike and demonstration on the coming Tuesday, May 9, 2023.

As a precautionary measure by the government, all ministries and departments affiliated with it are prohibited from giving any kind of leave to employees, and those who are absent from work are held accountable.

The demonstration began by calling the Central Committee to follow up on the new salary scale. This committee comprises representatives from some ministries, namely the Ministry of Education, Health, Water Resources, Municipalities, Water, Sewage, Construction, Housing, Agriculture, and Finance. It started at eight o'clock in the morning and continued by standing and cheering in front of the provincial office. It delivered words of emphasis on demanding the Council of Ministers to approve the new salary scale, otherwise, an escalation would occur.

Governmentally, the Director General of Babylon Education directed the educational supervision to register the absence of any teacher or teacher who does not attend on the day of the demonstration, Tuesday, May 9.

The monitoring team showed that the employees of the Ministry of Water Resources, Education, Municipalities and Agriculture, the Ministry of Construction and Housing, the employees of the governorate office, and the employees of the mayor of Hilla gathered in large numbers in front of the governorate office. During the demonstration, they raised banners calling on Prime Minister Muhammad al-Sudani to speed up the approval of the salary scale, after which the demonstration continued until eleven thirty after the Coordinating Committee announced the withdrawal from the demonstration and awaiting the statement of the Iraqi Employees Coordination Committee.

The demonstration was peaceful, as no form of violence occurred at all during the demonstration, and despite the law enforcement forces (which are government forces affiliated with the Babylon Police Command and were created months ago and are the same as the riot forces, but they were replaced by the name of the law enforcement forces), the demonstration continued to be peaceful, but the demonstrators blocked the main road to the main street by the local police to protect the demonstration and prevent the passage of civilian cars. In the media, several satellite channels were present, including the Iraqi Al-Oula channel, to cover the demonstration.

The reasons for the demonstration / the demands of the demonstrators

By reviewing the demonstrations that occurred in several Iraqi governorates, the most prominent reasons for its launch are:

  • Modifying employees' salary scale.
  • Achieving fairness in salary distribution
  • Addressing low-income employees' poor economic situation.

Notes on security authorities' handling of gatherings:

Although the demonstration topic was the same as the governorates from which it was launched. This was despite the peaceful demonstrations in the three governorates. Now the security forces responded mixed. The security forces have committed themselves to impartiality in Dhi Qar and Babel. However, Baghdad security forces did not protect the demonstrators, as violence was used to disperse them. The scene of violence by security forces, especially in the Baghdad governorate, was repeated more than once. This makes us think about the way the security forces work, how they deal with demonstrators, and the reasons that push the security forces to resort to violence against demonstrators in Baghdad in particular. This may be because of the security forces' fear of demonstrators mobilizing and not controlling the demonstration if it continues. While there is no justification for violence against demonstrators, violence is still used in Iraq to suppress demonstrations.

Kurdistan Organization for Human Right Watch


Email: Reports@kohrw.org