Report Sep #2 En 23

شبكة رصد

للحق في التجمع السلمي

تقرير منظمة كردستان لمراقبة حقوق الانسان حول وضع اللتظاهرات في العراق

A humanitarian tragedy and mass demand to hold the defaulters accountable

Crises continue to descend on Iraq, even on its auspicious occasions, so that the citizen has lost the luster of hope in a carefree life without suffering. The tragedy of Hamdaniya brings back to the Iraqi citizen the tragedies and woes that has always tried to forget among the folds of the cheerful occasions on which he takes part from time to time. Security and safety is one of the basic things that the government should ensure for citizens. Failure to ensure the chances of living peacefully for their citizens’ social lives may have ominous repercussions in the future. In this report, the two demonstrations that were monitored by the monitoring team during the second half of September 2023 in Nineveh and Dhi Qar governorates will be reviewed:

  • Nineveh Governorate demonstration 26-09-2023

 On Tuesday 26 -09-2023, the celebrations turned into screams and cries after a fire broke out in one of the concert halls in the Hamdaniya district of Nineveh Governorate. During a wedding ceremony attended by nearly 900 people in the Al-Hamdaniya district in Al-Haytham Hall, during the ceremony, a fire broke out

in the hall, because one attendee launched fireworks near its main entrance.  The ceiling of the hall was made of highly flammable materials which violated the safety conditions. The fire spread quickly and caused the ceiling to collapse because of these materials. As a result, the wedding party attendees were trapped between the flames, and because of the lack of adequate emergency exits and the lack of sufficient fire extinguishing means, the fire killed over 120 people and injured over 200 others.

The lack of security and safety conditions in public facilities can have disastrous consequences for the lives of citizens. Therefore, it is imperative for the government to take the issue of security and safety more seriously.

Photo (1)

Funeral of the body of the wedding ceremony fire in Hamdaniya

Thousands of Iraqis took part in a church service in a scene filled with mourning for losing their loved ones. Tahira in Qaraqush, to pray for the souls of the victims of the terrible fire that broke out in a wedding hall in the town of Hamdaniya, in northern Iraq a day ago. The Nineveh Operations commander, Abdullah Al-Jubouri, confirmed that the investigations into the incident have ended, and calls are growing for those responsible to be held accountable for this tragedy."

He delivered a sermon at the Immaculate Conception Church in Hamdaniya, highlighting that Iraq is united in its grief and criticizing officials for their corruption and nepotism. He criticized officials for their corruption and nepotism and stated that the country did not meet the required standards. He emphasized those responsible should be held accountable.

As a government response, in an official statement of the Iraqi government, the Iraqi government declared three days of mourning. The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mr. Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani, also visited the injured and the families of the victims, where he showed during his visit that he would impose the maximum penalties for the negligence in the Hamdaniya fire. The media office of the prime minister reported that Mr. Sudani visited the injured and deceased at the Republican Hospital and Hamdaniya Hospital, along with the ministers of Interior, Health, Culture, and Immigration. Security forces were not seen at the gathering, possibly due to it being a funeral for the victims of the fire. The incident gained significant media coverage, with many channels reporting on it, as well as social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter

Dhi Qar Governorate demonstration on 18-09-2023

 At precisely ten o'clock in the morning on Monday, September 18th, 2023, a group of citizens with special needs organized a vigil to demand expanded coverage and the linkage of the disability authority to the prime minister's office, ensuring their access to rights. These activists had planned the gathering a month prior, intending to demand equal rights as other citizens. One demonstrator highlighted the importance of their cause through social media

The demonstration focused on demanding the inclusion of some segments of people with special needs, such as the deaf, the dumb, and the disabled, with plots of land and a disability salary according to the percentage of disability. The demonstrators also called for the importance of linking the Department of Disability Authority to the Prime Minister’s Office instead of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. The demonstrators showcased their demands by holding up banners and flags in front of the House of Representative's office in Nasiriyah's Sumer neighborhood. Security forces surrounded the area without any conflict while the local media outlets were present. With the demonstrators, they limited their work to protecting them, organizing traffic, and allowing them the freedom to demonstrate peacefully.

It is necessary to take care of individuals with special needs, from all financial, social and educational aspects, as they are part of the social fabric of society.

 (2) Photo

Show demonstrators with special needs

Many media organizations were there to cover the event, including local channels and agencies. The rally lasted three hours, then the demonstrators left their gathering place with no harassment, and after the local government contacted one representative of the rally promising to raise the demands to the Council of Ministers.



Reasons for the demonstration/demands of the demonstrators

By reviewing the two demonstrations in the Nineveh and Dhi Qar governorates, it is clear that the most prominent reasons that led to their launch are the following.

  • Accountability of the negligent persons in the incident of the Hamdaniya fire.

2- Investigating the circumstances of the Hamdaniya fire.

3- Linking people with special needs to the prime minister's office directly.

4- Providing plots of land for people with special needs.


Notes on the handling of gatherings by the security authorities:

The nature and conditions of the two demonstrations were different, so it can be said that the assessment of the security forces carried two points of view, the first was that the security forces did not protect the demonstrators in the demonstration that was launched to mourn the bodies of the victims of the fire in Hamdaniya, even though it was a mass demonstration if compared to the second demonstration in Dhi Qar governorate, where the security forces were monitored and worked to contain and organize the demonstration. This difference in the treatment of the security forces may lead us back to the consideration of the General Organization of the work of the security forces and the extent to which they are organized according to the criteria commensurate with the purpose of their existence, mainly to protect citizens and state property.

Kurdistan Organization for Human Right Watch


Email: Reports@kohrw.org