Baghdad, 2 October 2019 - In line with UNAMI's mandate to advise and support, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, met with a number of protesters in Baghdad tonight. The Special Representative reiterated her call for calm and emphasized the importance of a direct dialogue between the people on the streets and Iraq's leadership.
The protesters are demanding economic reforms, jobs, reliable public services, accountability, prudent and impartial governance, and an end to corruption. "These are legitimate and longstanding demands. A direct dialogue, to discuss ways forward and to bring about immediate and tangible results, is of great importance."
Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert urged the authorities to exercise maximum restraint in the handling of the protests and to give peaceful protesters space to freely speak their minds, in keeping with the law. "The ability to preserve the right to protest is a sign of political and democratic maturity. Moreover, the use of force only fuels the anger, de-escalation is urgently needed" she said, warning against the infiltration of these demonstrations by parties with political and/or other agendas undermining the main cause of the protesters.
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