Human Rights Council 43rd Session
24 February – 20 March 2020
Oral Statement of International Lawyers.Org with Geneva International Centre for Justice
GD item:4 Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention
Delivered by: Mr. Naji Haraj
I would like to draw the Council's attention to the systematic and widespread violations against the peaceful demonstrators in Iraq, which have consisted of the use of various weapons, including by sniper fire. Since October 1, 2019, up to 700 protesters have been killed and over 25,000 injured.
The authorities intentionally killed the demonstrators. This is what the United Nations Mission in Iraq confirmed in its reports to the UN Security Council, but we have not seen practical measures on the ground that deter the authorities and provide protection for the demonstrators.
We must point out that the main demand for which the demonstrators went out on the streets is to restore their homeland and build a real democratic system of governance, absolutely rejecting the sectarian quota system that the American occupation imposed on the country in 2003. Since then, Iraqis have been deprived of their most basic rights, power has been shared according to sectarian and ethnic loyalties, at the expense of citizenship, and the country's wealth and international aid have been shared among the powerful in the same way.
The demonstrators hope that the international community will help them in organizing early and transparent elections under effective international supervision, liberated from the domination of the ruling parties’ militias. Through this, they can achieve their main goal of a real civilized democratic system instead of the current repressive regime.