Iraq: Renewed excessive use of force against protesters perpetuating a state of repression 


Geneva – Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties (GCRL) strongly condemns the Iraqi authorities’ resumption of excessive use of force against peaceful protesters, reflecting the reality of systematic repression in the country and the government’s willful violations of the right to peaceful gatherings which is internationally guaranteed.
According to testimonies received by Geneva Council, some protesters were killed while dozens of them were wounded during night protests in Baghdad and southern Iraq poor public services mainly the frequent power outages. Iraqi security forces used force against demonstrators who tried to cut roads leading to Al-Tahrir Square (central Baghdad) raising slogans condemning the deterioration of services, and calling for the corrupt to be brought to justice.
Similar demonstrations took place in regions such as Najaf, Karbala, Nasiriya, Diwaniya and Waset, protesting against the frequent power cuts for a long period of time where temperatures topping 50 degrees Celsius.
Geneva Council affirms that the continuous government repression of peaceful protesters in Iraq constitutes a flagrant violation of human rights and UN law enforcement standards, and violating the right to peaceful protest, considering that it is awful to handle demonstrations with such savagery and excessive use of lethal and unnecessary force .
GCRL also firmly states that the Iraqi government should open an immediate and impartial investigation on the repression used against protesters all over the country and ensure that the aggressors are held accountable, including those who issued orders to disperse demonstrations by violent force and punish them according to law.
The Geneva Council of Rights and Liberties said that the International Covenant on Civil and political Rights – in which Iraq is a State member – guarantees the right to peaceful protest and that no one is subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention. It also stressed that the Iraqi authorities should abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on the use of Force and Firearms by Law enforcement officials, which provides for the use of non-violent means by the security forces to the fullest extent possible before resorting to force, pointing out the dangers of neglecting such obligations.
Since last October, Iraq witnessed a wide wave of protests condemning corruption, unemployment and the deteriorating services. More than 600 people were killed during these protests that stopped last March because of the Coronavirus outbreak.

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