Iraq: Authorities must respect citizens’ right to peaceful protest

Iraqi citizens in the capital city of Baghdad, in Basra and other cities in the central and southern regions are organising mass demonstrations to protest a number of social grievances. These demonstrations broke out after the security forces responded to a peaceful demonstration in the city of Basra with live bullets, killing one person and wounding three demonstrators.

Demonstrators have protested the spread of corruption in the state departments, the lack of job opportunities for Iraqi youth, the continuous and unavoidable electrical power cuts, in addition to the lack of drinking water, and other poor services.

On 08 July 2018 in the early hours of the morning, hundreds of citizens from the Bahla area of Al-Midaina’s northern district of Basra marched peacefully, protesting the lack of jobs, particularly in the oil industry, as well as water and electricity shortages, and the lack of other services. The demonstration continued until midday when the security forces tried to disperse the protesters using live bullets, killing demonstrator Asaad Al-Mansori and wounding three other demonstrators seriously.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is deeply saddened by the death of demonstrator Asaad Al-Mansori at the hands of the security forces and calls on the authorities in Iraq to conduct an immediate, independent, impartial and thorough investigation into his death in order to publish the results and bring those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards.

GCHR also calls on the Iraqi government to put all its efforts to protect the right of its citizens to peaceful assembly and to provide adequate protection for all peaceful demonstrations taking place throughout the country.