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28-02-2024, 17:53


At a time when political disputes and international conflicts are aggravated within the Iraqi territories; we would like to renew our devotion to human and constitutional rights of expression, and not to use human rights in such conflicts.


The latest direction issued by the Acting Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Mohsen Al-Mandalawi, to the Legal Department of the House to file judicial lawsuits against any individual or establishment that “offends” the legislative institution and the members of the House of Representatives is an extremely crucial directive; as it uses the stilted term “offends”.


Such flexible term will be used against any person who expresses an opinion that is not consistent with that of the influential people or those intercepting the entire situation in the country or criticizes them, which constitutes a substantial breach of Article 38 of the Iraqi Constitution in force for the year 2005, and a clear indication of having systematic attempts to undermine the freedom of expression.


The threats and campaigns of defamation carried out by political forces against bodies of opinion, journalists, and human rights advocates can only be considered as attempts to threaten the foundations of democracy in post-dictatorship Iraq.


We, at the Coalition to Defend Expression of Interest, have previously declared our attitude to the attempts of restricting freedoms through issuing a draft law that does not comply with human rights principles. Hence, today we renew our claim for rejecting such attempts, and to remind members of the House of Representatives of their duty to represent their voters not their fronts.


We are also calling on the government of Mr. Mohammad Shiaa Al-Soudani to withdraw the draft law on the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, especially that it had previously indicated some comments on the draft law.


And we ask the Iraqi government to prevent any arbitrary arrests without warrants, and to inform public opinion of the charges addressed to the bodies of opinion, bloggers, and journalists.


Coalition to Defend Expression of Interest

Feb 28. 2024