In order to defend and sustain human rights, public freedoms and the national, economic, social and cultural interests of all Iraqis, whatever their religious, ethnic, or political affiliation, we, members of trade unions, professional and labor unions and Iraqi civil society organizations, announce here a national initiative to support the nonviolent October uprising which has led to large peaceful demonstrations throughout most Iraqi cities. Often these nonviolent protesters have been met with excessive violence from authorities, and thus an initiative to help sustain their efforts is urgent.
We reaffirm our support for the legitimate demands of the protestors who seek to find a genuine and lasting solution to the crisis crippling the political system in our country, and to ensure equality and social justice for all.
We believe that the immediate steps to be taken are as follows:
1- Resignation or dismissal of the current government.
2- Formation of an interim government with exceptional powers, independent of all sectarian, partisan, and national biases.
This should be run by competent individuals of integrity, who are patriotic and just, and who have never before participated in the Iraqi government as legislative or executive authorities. These new interim officials should be capable of quickly enacting policies that ensure economic, social and administrative changes that satisfy the interests of the youth and marginalized groups. The new interim government should guarantee that all Iraqis can exercise their public freedoms, in particular, freedom of expression, demonstration and peaceful assembly.
3-Press the current House of Representatives of the Iraqi Parliament to achieve one of two options:
- A- Grant the interim government exceptional powers and dissolve itself.
- B- Review special legislation, political parties, elections, and the Independent High Electoral Commission, so that they are free of sectarian, partisan and national quotas — all within a period not exceeding several months.
No individual or group will have the access to a monopoly of power which might lead to financial and/or political corruption. Such a review will involve specialized experts and representatives of civil society, as well as protestors themselves. After the review is complete, the House of Representatives would dissolve itself.
4-Develop, within a specified time limit, effective remedies for the urgent economic, social and administrative issues which are the cause of the current national crisis, and which have long been identified by the demonstrators:
- A- Hold all senior and junior officials accountable for ordering the murder, intimidation, kidnapping, arrest and torture of demonstrators and activists, and bring them to justice.
- B-Release all detained activists and demonstrators, uncover the fate of those still missing,
Ensure all necessary medical treatment to those who have been wounded, guarantee the rights of the families of the martyrs, and abolish the ambiguity of the counter-terrorism law which allowed for arbitrary and unjust measures to be taken against employees and students who participated in the demonstrations.
- C- Open major corruption files and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
- D -Confine all use of arms to the state, and stop the formation of private militias.
- E- Strive to achieve neutrality of state institutions based on principles of equal opportunity, professionalism and specialization so that they can serve all Iraqis effectively and without discrimination.
5- Ensure the independence of the judiciary and activate its role in guaranteeing the rule of law; hold accountable those who have been corrupt; and protect citizens and their rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Iraqi Constitution.
We, an independent group of trade unions, professional associations and civil society organizations, call upon international organizations — the United Nations, the European Union, national governments, civil society groups, and international human rights organizations — to support this National Initiative in Support of October’s Nonviolent Uprising and to pressure the Iraqi government and other political forces to respond to the legitimate demands of the peaceful protesters.
Baghdad, 9 November 2019