An official website of the United States government

Reports of Detention of Politicians, Journalists, and Civil Society Activists in IKR
August 8, 2022

Iraq Mission Seal (medium)

We are concerned by reports of the use of tear gas and rubber-coated bullets to disperse protesters and the detention of journalists, civil society activists, and members of parliament in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) in the run up to and during protests held in Sulaimaniyah on August 6. For democracy to succeed, governments must safeguard constitutionally protected and universal human rights and freedoms, including freedom of peaceful assembly and demonstration, freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial with due process, and the right of journalists to do their jobs freely and without interference.  We urge IKR authorities to review these actions and reaffirm the vital roles that a free press, peaceful assembly, and the rule of law play in democracy.