ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on Thursday condemned the use of excessive force against protesters in Iraq, deeming it unacceptable.
Federica Mogherini, EU foreign affairs and security policy chief, in a statement referred to "the excessive use of force against protestors" witnessed in Iraq in recent weeks as "deplorable."
Mogherini emphasized the need to protect the fundamental rights to gather and peacefully demonstrate of the Iraqi people as they deliver their demands to authorities, in accordance with the constitution.
"The reported attacks by armed entities against demonstrators undermine the right to peaceful assembly and the expression of legitimate demands," Mogherini added. "The European Union expects perpetrators of all violations to be held accountable."
Mogherini also affirmed the European Union's support towards the unity, sovereignty, and safety of Iraq and encouraged inclusive dialogue as a means to move forward and fulfill its commitments toward reconstruction and recovery expressed in Kuwait in 2018.
"The European Union is prepared to support the Iraqi government to answer to the demands of its people, fight corruption, improve management and create more job opportunities," the statement added.
Demonstrations started in Iraq in early October, calling for radical change in Iraq's political system, which protestors say fails to address their needs, but, instead, serves the interests of a small governing elite.
The protests over the past month reflect widespread dissatisfaction with the economy, including high levels of unemployment, the dismal state of public services, and widespread government corruption.
Editing by Nadia Riva