Right to Freedom of Expression in Kurdistan Region
The Right to Demonstrate and Law No. 11 of 2010 Organizing Demonstrations
Advocacy for amendment of specific Articles

The right to demonstrate is one of the human rights inherent in all human beings, and the right to freedom of expression is considered one of its pillars. Meanwhile, states and public authorities must protect and guarantee rights and freedoms and ensure their exercise, especially those freedoms that guarantee the right to express opinion.

The right to demonstrate has many sources in Iraqi legislation that confirm its legitimacy and constitutionality and that it is established for everyone in Iraq in general without any discrimination due to nationality or geographical location. Here are some of those sources:

1.       The Constitution of the Republic of Iraq for the year 2005, which guarantees the right to demonstrate in Article (38)  

2.       Article (46) of the Constitution of the Republic of Iraq for the year 2005, which authorized the restriction and limitation of rights and freedoms, provided that the restriction and limitation does not affect the essence of the right or freedom.

3.       What was stated in Law No. (11) of 2010 issued in the Kurdistan Region, organizing demonstrations, as stated in Article 2 / first / demonstrating is a constitutional right and it is exercised in accordance with the law.

However, there are a number of observations about Law No. (11) of 2010 issued by the parliament of the Kurdistan Region in terms of content as well as implementation, which prompted our organization to work on it in terms of advocacy to amend a number of its legal articles through various activities in the capital of the Region and the province of Sulaymaniyah.



Recommendations raised on the law No. 11, 2010

In the two sessions organized for Government institutions


1.       The term (public morals) should be more clarified and identified since this term is elastic and might result in impeding demonstrations

2.       Gaining approval for organizing demonstrations is restricted to be obtained from persons in charges of Administration Units such as Governor, District and sub-districts mayors which is criticized for concentrating all authorities in one person.

3.       Because of ambiguity in some articles of the law, some human rights are violated.

4.       Terms of demonstration and strike should be clarified and differentiated because they are different however it is not mentioned in the law.

5.       Some articles existed in the law No. 11, 2010 about gatherings which needs to be amended

6.       The request to organize the demonstration shall be submitted by the committee at least (48) forty-eight hours prior to the time set for its holding.

It is required to request approval for organizing demonstration (48 hours) before the event, however; this limitation is not practical since sometimes off days of the government institutions lasts for up to 10 days.

7.       Some urgent issues urge people to demonstrate in the nearest time since they might need urgent intervention to change certain decisions or policies of the local authorities or to react against a social issue.

8.       Identification of special locations for gatherings and demonstrations is deemed necessary in the cities

9.       If provocations lead to violence during the demonstrations, the civil police should try to end the violence in a peaceful way not with more violent actions.

10.    Protection of media workers and journalists during the protests and demonstrations

11.    The people who are in charge of requesting approval of demonstrations should not be charged in case other people create provocations lead to violence.