Report Nov #1 22 EN

شبكة رصد

للحق في التجمع السلمي

تقرير منظمة كردستان لمراقبة حقوق الانسان حول وضع اللتظاهرات في العراق

Late financial dues and fear aa merciless winter prompted citizens to go out to claim their rights

The Iraqi citizen has not calmed down for years, as crises and problems have been rolling over him for quite a while. They tried with all their might to overcome the harshness of life left by the country's repeated battles and crises, on the one hand, burdened by the complex climatic environment. This inconvenience prompted the citizen to invent ways to live with the current situation, despite its difficulties and challenges. Nevertheless, on the other hand, Iraqis face a new challenge by winter: the search for warmth and safety from the harsh winter.

Hundreds of Iraqis came out to demand their allocations of oil, which the Iraqi government has pledged to distribute. This report will focus on the demonstrations observed by the monitoring team in the Sulaymaniyah governorate during the first half of November 2022.

  • Demonstrations of Sulaymaniyah governorate 13-11-2022

Hundreds of University of Sulaymaniyah students came out to claim their financial dues for two days in a row. As the demonstrators demanded financial dues that had not been delivered to them for several months, and to express their

Although the allocations are small, they are an essential source of student income that helps alleviate the burden of study costs.

disapproval, hundreds of students organized demonstrations and sit-ins in front of University of Sulaymaniyah. The demonstrators demanded the presidency of the University and the government to work on the disbursement of monthly allocations promised by the regional government. Unfortunately, the regional government has yet to commit to disbursing these dues. According to one of the protesting students," delaying the payment of financial dues is a deliberate inaction by the government to gain time and non - commitment to the payment of these dues." He also pointed out to the demonstrators – that the government and the university administration underestimated the value of these grants, despite the small amount the student received. However, some students rely on this allocation to continue studying, especially after the financial crises faced by the region financially, specifically in Sulaymaniyah province, "he said.

Photo (1)

Part of the student demonstrations at University of Sulaymaniyah

In addition to paying monthly dues, the demonstrators also demanded a reduction in tuition fees for evening students who do not study for free at the University. They also demanded radical reforms in the educational system and a change in the school curriculum.

The security forces met these demonstrations with violent reactions to disperse the student demonstrators. They were beaten, resulting in several demonstrators being injured with various injuries. Furthermore, the administrative director of University of Sulaymaniyah pointed out that these demonstrations caused material damage to the university building and are not appropriate for university students, which is unacceptable behavior at the academic level. As a result, of the violence that accompanied the demonstrations, University of Sulaymaniyah announced the suspension of students ' attendance until the situation calms down

and works to find a swift solution to this crisis. Meanwhile, the university's assistant president for administrative affairs, Mr. Bishro Hama Jan, indicated that financial dues would be distributed to students within a short period after completing some administrative matters related to the disbursement of these dues. As for the media, monitoring the demonstrations was limited to social networking sites.

The next day, on 14-11-2022, dozens of university students marched from the Sulaymaniyah presidency building to the governorate building to renew their demands, which included paying financial dues on time and not procrastinating in disbursing them. However, the government has yet to issue any official statement to the governorate. The monitoring team pointed out that the student demonstrations in front of the governorate building were a message that the students would continue to demand their rights and would resort to escalation if they did not respond.

Photo (2)

Part of the student march heading to the Sulaymaniyah Governorate building

The mountainous nature of Penjwin district makes the environment one of the challenges citizens face, and this matter cannot be achieved without government support.

used for heating at low prices so that the citizen can buy it. As it is known that the district of Penjwin faces severe cold during the winter period; where one of the demonstrators pointed out that this region, unlike other regions of the region, is 

  • Demonstrations in Penjwin District (Sulaymaniyah Governorate) 11-14-2022

Hundreds of residents of Penjwin District of Sulaymaniyah province rallied, demanding the regional government and the governor of Sulaymaniyah to provide the essential fuel – White oil -

known for a frigid winter, where the temperature last winter reached twenty – seven degrees below zero (minus 27), so citizens need heating means to protect themselves from the harsh winter weather.

During the demonstration, one of the demonstrators pointed out that the provision of fuel has become a permanent problem for the town's residents. Where every winter, the suffering of the people of the twon begins in terms of the scarcity of fuel, and its high prices significantly burden the citizens, which pushes them to look for alternative solutions, namely cutting trees for heating, which poses a danger to the environment.

To force the government to respond to the demonstrators' demands, the demonstrators blocked the main road leading to Sulaymaniyah province by erecting a tent on the main road. There was no security presence of security forces in the area, but there was no significant reaction from the regional government to the demonstrators' demands. As for the media, there were many media channels, including nrt, K24, Speda, and knn. The spokesperson of the demonstration said that they would continue to move forward with their legitimate demands – he said – and the sit-ins would not stop until the government responded to these demands.

Photo (3)

A side of the citizens' sit-in in the district of Penjwin

It is noteworthy that during the monitoring of demonstrations in Iraq, no demonstration was observed in the central and southern governorates, unlike the northern governorates. This may be due to the fact that the reason for the demonstrations that were launched in the central and southern

governorates is due to the lack of government formation and poor services. However, after the formation of the new government, and the promises it made to move towards reform during its formation period, citizens tended to calm the situation and give the new government an opportunity to fulfill its reform pledges and provide services to citizens.

Causes of demonstrations/demands of 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:

* Disbursement of financial dues

* Renewing the call for reform in the educational system.

* Saving fuel sources



Remarks on the security authorities ' handling of gatherings:

It can be said that the behavior of the security forces is still below the required level in terms of professionalism, as resorting to violence to resolve the demonstrations proved ineffective during the previous periods. However, instead, it was always counterproductive on the ground. Therefore, it can be said that the security forces resorting to violence in dispersing the demonstrations may result from their inability to deal professionally with the protests in the street. In addition, the absence of security forces in some areas raises questions about the seriousness of the security forces in protecting citizens from acts of violence that may erupt during demonstrations. Therefore, the principles of negligence and violent behavior can be considered negative indicators of the performance of the security forces in general.

Kurdistan organization for human right watch


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