Amnesty: Restraint urged in Iraq’s
Kurdistan Region following more protester deaths
February 22, 2011
Amnesty International has called on the Kurdistan
regional government to rein-in militias affiliated
to political parties who killed two protestors on
Sunday, as anti-government demonstrations continue
in the north of Iraq.
A 17-year-old boy, Serkho Mohammed, was
dead on Sunday as hundreds of
demonstrators clashed with government security
forces and armed militia belonging to the Kurdistan
Democratic Party (KDP) in the city of Sulaimaniyah.
A second protester died
in hospital on Monday after being shot during the
protests, which also left at least 30 people
injured. Others were apparently arrested.
"These killings add fuel to an already volatile
situation in Sulaimaniyah and represent a very
worrying, as well as tragic, development,” said
Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's director for
the Middle East and North Africa.
“It is imperative that the authorities step in and
prevent further killings and other abuses, and bring
the KDP militia under control and accountable under
Security forces reportedly opened fired and used
tear gas on
trying to reach the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP
building, apparently in order to burn it down.
Armed KDP militia have killed three people in
Sulaimaniyah, including a 15-year-old boy, since
protests began outside the party’s main offices on
17 February. The protestors have been calling for an
end to corruption.
"The Kurdish authorities must order an immediate
independent investigation into these killings and
those who perpetrated them must be brought to
justice if, as it appears, the killings were
unlawful," said Malcolm Smart.
Since the protests started on 17 February, several
buildings of the opposition
(Change) party and the headquarters of a newly
NRT TV and
radio station have reportedly set on fire.
The KDP and another Kurdish party jointly hold power
as the government of Iraq’s semi-autonomous
“The two political parties that jointly rule Iraq’s
three Kurdish provinces continue to operate armed
militia which act almost as a law unto themselves
and have been permitted to commit human rights
abuses with impunity,” said Malcolm Smart.
A ‘day of rage’ has been organised for 25 February
across Iraq where coordinated demonstrations are
expected to take place calling for reforms,www.ekurd.netincluding
an end to corruption.
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