On 3 November 2010, the KRG Parliament passed a law
regulating demonstrations within the Kurdish Region. The next steps include the parliament sending the bill to
President Barzani for his response.
Legally, President Barzani has the option of signing the law as is,
sending it back to Parliament for amendment, or ignoring it. If he chooses to ignore it, the law goes
into effect fifteen days after President receives it. He has not yet signed it, so now is the
time for the international community to apply pressure. Three years ago, when the KRG
parliament passed an oppressive law on journalists, pressure from Kurdish
journalists and the international community resulted in President Barzani
openly stating his commitment to freedom of the press, and sending the bill
back to parliament for amendment.
Many activists in the KRG would like to see this law
regulating demonstrations revoked, because it criminalizes free expression—particularly
in regards to spontaneous demonstrations—and freedom of association.
Please contact the President Barzani using the link
below. In a respectful manner, thank him for having expressed his support for civil
liberties in the past. Ask him to
continue protecting freedom of speech and assembly for Kurdish citizens by
revoking the KRG parliament’s law, which requires registration of
demonstrations seventy-two hours before the event and would charge the
organizers with a crime if any violence occurred in the course of the
demonstration. Note that the law
says authorities may use force to stop a demonstration, but does not stipulate
which authorities—military, anti-terrorist forces, security or civilian
police—may use such force.
Time is running out; President Barzani has yet to respond to
the bill. Please take a moment to click
on this link and
leave a courteous message for President Barzani.