Shafaq News/ The Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier Khalid al-Muhanna said on Thursday that the ministry's agencies will enter a state of high alert in preparation for the protection of next Friday's demonstrations , to secure the means of movement and security of citizens and the protection of public and private institutions and property.
"The Prime Minister, the commander in chief of the armed forces and the interior minister, directed all security forces to deal responsibly with protesters in accordance with human rights principles and abide by the orders to protect peaceful demonstrations," he said.
He added that "there is no need to worry about the start of demonstrations after the lessons learned from previous one. "The responsibility of the security forces is to secure demonstrations, maintain civil peace, protect citizens' interests and ensure the flow of movement in Baghdad and cities."
"The law enforcement forces will fulfill this responsibility in cooperation with the citizens in order to preserve the public interest," he added, “Everyone is keen on peace and stability and overcoming the mistakes that have taken place in previous demonstrations. We therefore call upon our citizens to practice their normal activities."
In turn, the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement on the freedom of demonstration and expression of opinion, "based on the duties of the High Commission for Human Rights as laid down by Commission Law No. 53 of 2008 amended to ensure and respect rights and freedoms, including the right to express opinion and peaceful demonstration as a means to demand legitimate rights In accordance with the humanitarian and legal duty entrusted to it, the Commission emphasizes the following:
- The right to peaceful demonstration and expression of opinion is a constitutional right guaranteed to all citizens alike. The government must protect protesters and enable them to express their legitimate demands by peaceful means.
- The government, represented by all its security forces and forces, should deal with peaceful demonstrations and demonstrators in accordance with the principles of human rights stipulated in international laws and legislations and the Iraqi constitution in a manner that ensures the preservation of the lives of demonstrators and avoids the use of force in all its forms.
- The Government and the security services shall ensure the freedom of movement and communication of the demonstrators and shall provide the necessary protection to the places of demonstration, the buildings and the surrounding streets.
- Freedom of the media and press is one of the pillars of the democratic system. The government should enable free and fair media to exercise its desired role in covering demonstrations and conveying facts.
- The Commission stresses the need to expedite the trial of those convicted of the events that accompanied the demonstrations that started in Baghdad and the governorates on the 1st of October until the 8th of it, which caused killing and wounding of demonstrators and security forces alike, assaulting public and private property and guaranteeing fair compensation for the families of all victims and victims.
- The Commission calls upon the Supreme Judicial Council to fairly investigate the human rights violations that have been accompanied by previous demonstrations by all persons and entities that have been implicated in these violations according to official investigations.
- The Commission recommends that demonstrating citizens would exercise this right in a peaceful manner and that disregarded persons, if any, should not be allowed to attack the security forces and divert demonstrations from their peaceful and legitimate aims.
- The Commission calls upon all security agencies and the formations of the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice to enable monitoring and follow-up demonstrations of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to perform their mandated tasks of monitoring and documenting violations and providing them with the required data and information to enable them to perform their duties fully. As it confirmed that its doors are open to receive complaints about violations against them and requests to all citizens without exception.
Finally, the High Commission for Human Rights assures everyone that it has instructed all its staff to be present in the demonstration yards through its observation teams formed to monitor and document any violations that may occur and affirms that they are with peaceful demonstrations and legitimate demands, and stresses the need to respond quickly and effectively to those demands to ensure a decent and safe life for all citizens.