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 Full text 
Wednesday, 23 October 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

The situation in Iraq, in particular the violent suppression of young people’s and students' protests (debate)

  Kati Piri, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, this month, tens of thousands took to the streets across the Shia majority regions of Iraq. Protests were clearly spontaneous and protesters were unarmed. In no way did they pose a security threat, and yet the crackdown by the authorities was brutal and deadly. At least 110 were killed, thousands were injured and thrown in prison, and paramilitary snipers shot dead dozens from the rooftops in Baghdad.

Colleagues, let me be very clear: these actions are blatant and unacceptable human rights violations and must be condemned in the strongest terms. The protesters’ concerns are legitimate and urgent. Similar protests have been ongoing for months. A quarter of the young people are unemployed; basic public services are absent; corruption is endemic. Concerns about Iran are growing, and the actions taken by the government are of the deepest concern and simply do not deliver. These protests are not over. Nothing has been resolved; rather the contrary.

25 October is the government deadline to bring to justice those responsible for shooting civilians. On this very day, people again will go to the streets. We cannot allow their legitimate demands to again be met with violence. Iraq needs structural, social and economic reforms and revision of its patronage networks. This takes political courage. The EU and its parliaments stand by all Iraqi people, and we are ready to assist the authorities if they want to invest genuinely, decisively and inclusively in the country’s social and economic reforms. We are ready to demonstrate that the EU is a fair and trustworthy partner in the region.

Last updated: 18 November 2019Legal notice