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Stockholm- Skyline International for Human Rights condemns the attacks and violations by security authorities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq against activists, journalists, and some parliamentarians, including arrests and prosecutions after they participated in demonstrations to protest living conditions.

(Monday) Skyline reports that angry protests against the policies of the ruling forces took place in several areas of Iraq's Kurdistan region, demanding an improvement in living conditions, while information and figures on the ground showed that dozens of assaults were documented in the protests that broke out in the afternoon, affecting a number of activists, journalists and parliamentarians. Saturday, August 6, in the center of Sulaymaniyah governorate and other adjacent areas.

"Skyline" states that the protests resulted from a call by the opposition movement "New Generation" led by businessman "Shaswar Abdul Wahed". The potesters chanted slogans demanding an end to the public sector pay crisis and an improvement in services and living conditions, security forces responded by using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators. The use of tear gas by riot police resulted in injuries among protesters, while media and human rights sources reported the arrest of 11 journalists in 24 hours across the region. Television images obtained by Skyline show a clash between some Movement deputies and security forces in the center of Sulaymaniyah.

The "Shaswar" party accused the Kurdish authorities in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah of arresting all the leaders and volunteers of the movement, while the fate of some of the others arrested is not known, as the movement published on its platforms pictures of the arrested 7 MPs and 35 activists detained by the security forces.

Skyline points out that calls for demonstrations in the region parallel protests and sit-ins taking place in Baghdad at the invitation of "Sadr Movement" leader Muqtada al-Sadr, who recently called for early parliamentary elections.

The region, which is governed by two parties, the "Democratic" led by "Massoud Barzani" and the "National Union" led by "Bafel Talabani," has been suffering a political and economic crisis since 2014, as agreements with the federal government in Baghdad could not be honoured in light of the decline in global oil prices, resulting in the non-payment of salaries to public sector workers and a decline in the service sector.

Skyline stresses that the continued behavior of the Iraqi Kurdish authorities towards activists, journalists and freedom of expression in this form of restriction seriously violates the rights contained in the internal laws and many international agreements that guarantee freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and freedom of journalistic work, first and foremost the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Skyline concludes its statement by calling on the authorities of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to immediately and unconditionally release activists, journalists, parliamentarians, and all prisoners of conscience, Authorities should also work to ensure that individuals and activists are able to exercise their fundamental rights, which primarily include freedom of opinion and expression and the right to assemble peacefully without restriction or persecution, and to work to realise their demands rather than persecute them and use unjustified force against them.