ACHRS stands in solidarity with the protestors in Iraq as they fight against governmental corruption and high unemployment.
Anti-government protests are not new to Iraq. Protests against the government have erupted regularly since the U.S. invasion in 2003. However, Iraq has not seen such massive protests since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
The protests erupted on October 1 when Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad to demand their rights. Although the protests were initially peaceful, they rapidly became violent with protestors blocking roads, oil facilities, and ports. Security forces are fighting back against protestors with an iron fist. Reports from Baghdad indicate that over 420 people have been killed and 17,000 have been injured.
ACHRS encourages Iraqi security forces to stop using violent tactics against protestors and the Iraqi government to pass anti-corruption measures. ACHRS also urges the protestors to remain peaceful as they demand their rights. Violence will not achieve their goals and will only lead to further instability in Iraq.
A wave of protests has once against swept across the Middle East. It seems as if the region is repeating the 2011-uprisings that toppled brutal regimes. In 2011, the hopes of the protestors in the region were, for the most part, not realized. The region crept backwards into a state of even more brutal authoritarian rule and violent repression. The grievances of the Arab Spring have not been forgotten and are resurfacing in Lebanon and Iraq, where the prime ministers of both countries were ousted.
There is no hope for the region to progress into the future under violent and corrupt regimes where basic human rights are violated. ACHRS encourages the people of Lebanon, Iraq and Iran to continue to fight for their rights in hopes of creating a more just region. However, ACHRS also fears that history will repeat itself and the regimes that the people are fighting against will become increasingly brutal.
The international community must condemn harsh government crackdowns on protestors and aid the people of Lebanon, Iraq and Iran in fighting for their human rights. The region and the international community cannot afford the repercussions of any more bloody civil wars.
Although it is hard to determine the outcome of these protests, ACHRS hopes that peace will be brought to the region and the people will one day fully realize their human rights.