UN Iraq representative condemns civilian deaths in nationwide protests

“Violence is never the answer; the protection of life is the overriding imperative.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – As violent nationwide protests rage on in central and southern Iraqi provinces, the United Nations representative in Iraq has condemned the increasing number of civilian deaths.

In a statement on Tuesday, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, condemned “in the strongest terms the rising number of deaths and injuries during the demonstrations engulfing many parts of Iraq.”

Protests began on Friday, quickly turning violent as they continued on Tuesday for the fifth day, reportedly resulting in the death of at least 24 individuals.

Another bout of demonstrations earlier in the month went on for about a week, leaving at least 140 dead.

“The recent developments across many parts of Iraq, in particular in Karbala [on Monday night], are most alarming,” Hennis-Plasschaert said in the statement, expressing her concern about reports of live fire being used against demonstrators.

Read More: Protests in Iraq’s Karbala governorate result in at least 20 deaths: sources

“Violence is never the answer; the protection of life is the overriding imperative,” she stated. “A national dialogue is urgently needed to find prompt, meaningful responses.”

“This vicious cycle of violence must end.”

On Wednesday, Hennis-Plasschaert visited Tahrir Square in Baghdad “to engage with the people out there,” a statement from the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq said.

“While exchanging views and discussing possible ways to address the legitimate demands of peaceful demonstrators, SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert reiterated that no government could comprehensively tackle the legacy of the past and the present challenges in just one year in office.”

Demonstrators have been calling for an end to the economic woes of the people of Iraq—demands that have been repeatedly made during such protests.

According to Reuters, the death toll since the unrest began on Oct. 1 is now at least 250 people.