Iraq: Rights at Risk

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On 3 November 2010, the Parliament of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) passed a law regulating demonstrations within the KRG.  According to various civil society groups, the Parliament took a bill drafted by civil society, changed its main principles and then passed it with no open discussion.

Civil society groups from across the KRG are expressing serious concerns around at least three of the law’s provisions:

  1. Any kind of demonstration must be registered and granted permission from the authorities seventy-two hours beforehand; this stipulation clearly takes away the right of spontaneous demonstrations or association;
  2. If any violence occurs at a demonstration, the organizers can be charged with a crime;
  3.  The authorities can use force to stop demonstrations but the law is not clear as to which armed group – military, anti-terrorist, security or civilian police – will wield this force.

Non-governmental organizations wish to have further consultations with Parliament to prevent this deprivation of free expression.  They ask that KRG President Barzani not sign the law, but rather return it to  Parliament for changes and a transparent discussion.

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