Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative

The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) is dedicated to bringing together Iraqi and international civil societies through concrete actions to build together another Iraq, with peace and Human Rights for all.

Open Letter by CPT on the current protests in the Kurdistan Region

To whom it may concern,

Your urgent attention is needed in regards to widespread human rights violations currently taking place throughout the Kurdish Region of Iraq. This includes violence, mass arrests and excessive force used by the KRG security forces in response to peaceful protests.

On the 18th and 19th December CPT accompanied peaceful demonstrations carried out by teachers, government employees and other citizens of the Kurdish Region of Iraq in the city of Sulaimani. Demonstrations have been addressing unpaid government salaries, corruption in the governmental sector, as well as requests for the leading Parties of KRG to step down. On the 18th of December tear gas and rubber bullets were used towards demonstrators in Mawlawi Street in the Bazar area of Slemani. Today on the 19th of December, CPT accompanied a peaceful demonstration led by approximately 100 teachers and governmental workers in front of the DIrectory of Education on Salim Street, in Sulaimani. The demonstrators carried balloons and banners while asking for peaceful resolutions of the above mentioned issues.

While demonstrators were standing in front of the Directory of Education, approximately 17 Asiesh (Security Forces) trucks arrived. The members of the Security Forces began forcefully dispersing and arresting the demonstrators. During the arrests, CPT witnessed the nonviolent demonstrators being beaten and violently arrested by the Security Forces. It was reported to CPT that at the same time in another part of the city, in the Sara Square, demonstrators were shot at by the Security Forces and more mass arrests were made. Reports have also been made to CPT that many demonstrators were shot at and arrested in the city of Ranya. It was also reported to CPT that the KRG asked the military forces to be in preparation.

Your most urgent attention is requested to this issue.

CPT – Christian Peacemaker Teams

(picture by Feriq Fereç)