A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (29 November) on the ongoing protests and violent clashes in Iraq:
Since the beginning of October, we have observed ongoing protests in Iraq, accompanied by violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces, with increasing concern. The extent of the violence against protesters with over 370 people killed to date and many thousands injured is deeply shocking.
The Federal Government condemns the disproportionate use of live ammunition and tear gas canisters as well as targeted attacks on medical personnel. The right to peaceful protest, as enshrined in the Iraqi Constitution, must be guaranteed. We call on all sides to exercise restraint and to refrain from violence. We are calling once again for a full investigation into all cases of violence. While we welcome the efforts that the Iraqi Government has made so far in this regard, these measures must now reach a swift conclusion and those responsible must be brought to justice.
The actions taken by the Iraqi authorities against a number of television and radio stations in the course of the protests and repeated attacks on journalists by unidentified persons are a cause of great concern for us. This represents a worrying deterioration of the freedom of the press. In the Federal Government’s view, a free press forms the basis of an open, public discourse, which is also a precondition for lasting stability and development.
After years of conflict, we acknowledge the remarkable progress made by Iraq as well as the major challenges still to be overcome in rebuilding the country. It is up to responsible decision-makers in Iraq to live up to their responsibility for the future of the country within the framework of a peaceful and inclusive democratic dialogue with the population and in line with the road map of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Swift reform measures are required in order to respond to the legitimate calls of the people for a tangible and long-term improvement of their livelihoods. The Federal Government is prepared to continue to lend its support and will do so within the framework of stabilisation, humanitarian assistance and reconstruction measures.