The Independent High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq (IHCHR) has stressed that peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are constitutional rights guaranteed to all citizens alike.
It said the government must protect protesters and enable them to peacefully express their legitimate demands.
“The government, represented by all its security forces and services, should deal with peaceful demonstrations and demonstrators in accordance with principles of human rights set forth in international laws and legislation and the Iraqi constitution,” it said in a press statement on Thursday.
“It shall ensure protecting protesters’ lives and avoid the use of force in all its forms and methods that degrade the demonstrator’s dignity and endanger his life and security,” the statement added.
It also called on the government and security services to “ensure providing freedom of movement and communication for the demonstrators, as well as the necessary protection for places of demonstration, buildings and streets surrounding them.”
The Commission noted that freedom of media and press are the pillars of a democratic system, stressing that the government shall enable the free and honest media to play its intended role in covering demonstrations and conveying facts.
It also highlighted the need to expedite the trial of those convicted in the incidents that accompanied the demonstrations and led to the killing and injury of protesters and security forces, and ensure fair compensation to the families of the victims.
The IHCHR demanded the Supreme Judicial Council to carry out fair investigations into human rights violations committed during the one-week demonstrations that rocked Baghdad and other provinces early October.
It advised demonstrating citizens to peacefully exercise this right and not allow undisciplined persons to attack security forces and distort demonstrations from their peaceful and legitimate targets.
It also called on security bodies and formations of the ministries of interior, health and justice to enable IHCHR teams responsible for monitoring and following-up demonstrations to perform their mandated tasks.