Freedom of Assembly is a Basic Human Right
Federation of Civil Society
The Federation of Civil Society calls on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRG) government security forces to avoid using excessive force and weapons against its citizens, including during times of peaceful protest. Freedom of assembly is a basic human right and use of excessive force and weapons is a serious violation of those human rights.
Activist groups will assemble peacefully on Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 11 a.m. in Sulaimani City to protest the budget passed in the KRG on June 24, 2012. The budget was passed without transparency; without a clear and detailed plan; without incomes identified; but with apparent corruption.
The Federation of Civil Society supports every democratic movement against corruption, including the way in which the KRG passed its annual budget. We are not satisfied with this situation and call on the KRG for greater transparency in the budget process.
At the same time, the Federation insists on the freedom of assembly and the right for citizens to express their opinions freely without fear of retribution.
The Federation of Civil Society drafted the first protest law in 2010 to protect freedom of assembly.
Since that time, members of the Federation have observed every protest in Kurdistan and have observed the use of violence against citizens by government forces, including the firing of automatic weapons and beating of citizens. These actions are both a violation of human rights and of the protest law and were particularly apparent on July 27, 2011 and February 17, 2012.
Since the government ‘crack-down’ of the two-month peaceful gathering in Sulaimani on April 19, 2011, the KRG has opposed every kind of protest and has continued to use military force to prohibit freedom of assembly. This situation has been reported in international media numerous times:
The Federation of Civil Society urges government leaders in the KRG and its government security forces to respect the basic principles of human rights, which includes freedom of assembly. We call on government security forces to avoid using any kind of force during the peaceful protest on Thursday, June 28, 2012.
From this point forward, the Federation of Civil Society will document and write reports about any human rights violations as a result of excessive force or use of weapons during peaceful gatherings of citizens.
The Federation also asks that anyone with information about any kind of violation contact the Federation by calling one of these telephone numbers: 07501179516, 07701573210, or 07701588173.