Saturday, 23 December 2017 23:10

UNAMI Underlines an Urgent Need for De-escalation Following Violent Demonstrations in Sulaimaniya

Sulaimaniya, 23 December 2017 – Senior representatives from the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) emphasized in meetings held in Sulaimaniya on 21-22 December with government officials, political party leaders and civil society representatives, the urgency of de-escalating ongoing local tensions in the aftermath of demonstrations that had turned violent and led to arrests, injury and, regrettably, loss of life.

The delegation called on a variety of leaders across the political and social spectrum. They included the deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, H.E. Mr. Qubad Talabani; Governor of Sulaimaniya, Dr. Haval Abubakir; Provincial Council Chairman Mr. Azad Hama Ameen; leaders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Gorran Change Movement, Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG), Coalition for Democracy and Justice and the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Suleimaniya; as well as activists, civil society organisations and citizens directly affected by the crisis.

The purpose of the meetings was to underline the deep concern of the United Nations over the violence that accompanied demonstrations in the past few days, including the shooting of demonstrators and the torching of political party offices and public buildings in areas of the Sulaimaniya Governorate.

The delegation reaffirmed the fundamental right of people to engage in peaceful demonstrations, in keeping with the law. They underlined the importance of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) handling protests in a restrained manner, in keeping with established modern police techniques, so as to avoid further escalation. The mission’s representatives highlighted the authorities’ responsibility to protect their citizens, including peaceful protestors, and safeguard their human rights; they urged the security forces to ensure the safety and dignity of demonstrators.

The UNAMI team also made it clear that protestors themselves were responsible for ensuring that their voices were heard in accordance with the confines of the law, and did not resort to violence against the security forces nor engage in the destruction of public and private properties.

UNAMI recognises that amongst the grievances raised by the protestors, the issue of security of citizens’ livelihoods in the face of the ongoing budgetary crisis is paramount. The UNAMI representatives reiterated the readiness of the Mission, in the event of a request from both parties, to use its good offices to support negotiations between the federal government in Baghdad and the KRG, working within the framework of the Iraqi constitution and focusing on all pending issues, including but not limited to the allocations in the federal budget, the payment of salaries and border controls, in response to the needs of all Iraq’s citizens in the aftermath of the hard-won victory over ISIL.

The delegation inquired about the detention of demonstrators by the authorities, and specifically about the treatment of Shaswar Abdulwahid, leader of the New Generation Movement, and Rabun Maaruf, member of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament. UNAMI calls upon the authorities to conduct a transparent and fair process to address the activities of all those involved in the use of violence or the incitement thereof, within the confines of the law.

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For more information, please contact: Mr. Khalid Dahab, Deputy Director of Public Information/Deputy Spokesperson

United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Phone: +964 790 194 0146, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or the UNAMI Public Information Office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • Agency: UNAMI

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