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Last Update: 1 Day and 17 Hour and 50 Minute ago
News code: 28341
Published Date: Saturday 5 October 2019 - 15:40:33
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UN expresses concern following wave of street protests in Iraq

UN expresses concern following wave of street protests in Iraq
World  - The United Nations called on Iraq to allow citizens to exercise their right to freedom of expression after the security forces opened fire on widespread anti-government protests which began earlier this week.

Reports indicate that up to 30 people have been killed in demonstrations across the country so far, and more than hundreds were injured, including members of the security forces. Meanwhile dozens were also arrested; the UN human rights office OHCHR said.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for talks between the government and demonstrators on Friday, as well as expressing regret over the loss of life.

The UN chief has been following these "recent waves of street demonstrations", expressing concern over the violence, injuries and loss of life, according to a statement issued by his Spokesperson.

Mr Guterres emphasized that fundamental rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly must be respected.

"The Secretary-General reiterates his call to security forces to act at all times with maximum restraint and to respond to any acts of violence in conformity with relevant international human rights standards on the use of force by law enforcement officials. He also calls on protestors to demonstrate peacefully and to refrain from violence," the statement continued.

On Tuesday, many Iraqis, mostly young people, have taken to the streets, to demand reliable economic reforms, jobs and public utilities such as electricity and water, as well as an end to corruption.

OHCHR spokesperson Marta Hurtado also told journalists in Geneva on Friday: "We are agitated by reports that security forces have used live ammunition and rubber bullets in some areas, and have also fired tear gas canisters directly at protestors."

"We call on the Iraqi Government to allow the people to freely exercise their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The use of force must be exceptional, and the assemblies must usually be governed without the use of force."

The service of internet in Most provinces have also shut down in response to the protests, according to international media reports.

Ms. Hurtado said "Blanket internet shutdowns are likely to contravene freedom of expression, unduly restricting the right to receive and impart information and may exacerbate tensions".

 

News Code: 28341
Published Date: Saturday 5 October 2019 - 15:40:33
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