Iraq: UN envoy calls for demonstrations to be carried out peacefully and with restraint

8 January 2013 – Taking note of demonstrations currently taking place in several Iraqi governorates, the United Nations envoy in the country today called for those taking part and those providing security to ensure that the protests are carried out peacefully. 

“We call on the protesters to refrain from violence and to maintain the peaceful character of their demonstrations and on the security forces to show the utmost restraint in maintaining law and order,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler.

In a news release from the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), which he heads, the UN official also called on all sides to engage, without delay, in a “peaceful and constructive” dialogue in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution and law.

The protestors have voiced a number of grievances they see as violations of their human rights and have also raised a number of demands, according to UNAMI, which noted that the Government has acknowledged that peaceful protest is a constitutionally guaranteed right of all citizens of Iraq.

“UNAMI is committed to support the political and human rights of all Iraqi citizens, as well their social, cultural and economic rights, in the framework of the rule of law,” the UN mission added.

Established as a political mission by the UN Security Council in 2003, UNAMI is mandated to help with advancing inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation, as well as assisting in the electoral process, among other duties.