Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament condemn the brutal and deadly crackdown by the Iraq authority forces on the street protestors who are demanding improved services and more action to curb corruption.

S&Ds call for a thorough and independent investigation into the lethal violence against the protestors.

“Since the beginning of October, tens of thousands people took to the streets in Baghdad and southern cities of Iraq. Their concerns are legitimate. A quarter of young people are unemployed, basic public services are absent, and corruption is endemic. Protesters were unarmed, posing no security threat, and yet, the crackdown by the authorities was brutal and deadly.  As Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented, security forces killed at least 140 and injured more than five thousand. There are reports that snipers shot at protesters as they dispersed and sprayed them with scalding water,” said Kati Piri, S&D vice-president responsible for foreign affairs.

“These actions are blatant and unacceptable human rights violations and we condemn them in the strongest terms. We call for a thorough and independent investigation into the lethal violence against the protestors, in particular involvement of paramilitary forces and alleged use of snipers. All those responsible must be hold accountable,” said Piri.

“Unfortunately, the arrests and acts of violence in Iraq continue. Media reports say that up to 18 people were shot dead and hundreds wounded by security forces during any-governmental protest in city of Karbala just a few days ago. Besides this, the authorities are suppressing the right of residents to show support for demonstrations. HRW reported that two men were arrested for merely posting messages of solidarity on Facebook,” added S&D MEP Domènec Ruiz Devesa, the first vice-president of the EP-Iraq Delegation.

“Iraq needs structural social and economic reforms and a revision of its patronage networks.  For Iraq to be stable, it also needs to be free from interference of external players.  We call on the protestors, the government, the parliament, political parties, religious leaders and civil society actors to agree on a framework for dialogue and long-term reform that would address the legitimate concerns of the population,” he pointed out.

“The European Parliament stands by all Iraqi people, as a stable, secure and prosperous Iraq is also in the greatest interests of the EU. We are ready to assist the Iraqi authorities if they want to genuinely invest in the country’s democratic and non-sectarian reforms,” concluded Domènec Ruiz Devesa.