ITUC calls on Iraqi government to immediately stop crackdown on protests

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has demanded that the government of Iraq end its brutal repression of demonstrators who have been calling for jobs, improved social services and an end to widespread state corruption. Over 100 people have been killed in recent days as government security forces have attacked demonstrators using live ammunition, explosives and stun grenades.

“Instead of repressing protests, the government must listen to the legitimate calls for dignity and social justice, address the root causes of the deep social discontent and put in place mechanisms that protect people’s freedom of association and assembly. The international community also needs to recognise the scale of reconstruction needed in Iraq after the brutal conflict there in recent years,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

The ITUC urges the Iraqi government to immediately halt repression against protesters, ensure impartial investigation into the violent attacks and address the economic and social factors that are causing the discontent.

Official unemployment is around 8% in Iraq, with youth unemployment at over 16%, and around 17% of those who do have jobs are underemployed. Millions of Iraqis live on less than US$2 per day.