5-04-2024, 14:30



In the days ahead, the Iraqi Council of Representatives is poised to vote on a draft law regarding freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration, in a stark and unequivocal attempt that disregards civil society and the amendments it proposed to the draft law.


The decision to proceed with the vote on the draft law, despite input from local and international human rights organizations, and significant objections from parliament members and political factions, underscores the concerted efforts to undermine freedoms in Iraq.


For 13 years, civil society has been fighting to prevent the enforcement of this law in its current form. Several organizations have submitted their observations and proposals, working closely with parliamentary committees to refine the draft in alignment with the Iraqi Constitution and universal principles of human rights. However, despite these efforts, many political forces persist in wielding the law as a means of exerting pressure on the Iraqi people.


The Alliance for Freedom of Expression in Iraq (AEFI), supported by the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights (IOHR), asserts that the draft law presents numerous concerns. It amalgamates several laws and disregards the principles of freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 38 of the Iraqi Constitution.


In recent years, the Council of Representatives has largely disregarded civil society's endeavors to shape a more suitable form for the law. Nevertheless, with the backing of certain political factions, the CoR itself has been actively involved in constraining the fundamental, indivisible, and profound right of freedom of expression.


All parliamentary terms between 2010 and 2021 have demonstrated a systematic effort aimed at curtailing freedoms in Iraq, with the enactment of authoritarian laws that impede Iraqis from exercising their rights, except a limited number of parliament members who are known for their firm and clear positions on this matter.


Hence, the AEFI urges the Iraqi Council of Representatives, its Presidency, and the Legal, Human Rights, Culture and Media, and Security and Defense Committees, to refrain from voting on a draft law that undermines a cornerstone of democratic systems and one of the most crucial achievements for Iraqis since 2003.


We also advocate for conducting a hearing that involves organizations, experts, and practitioners who are not associated with extremist political agendas aimed at eradicating freedoms in Iraq.



About AEFI:

AEFI is an entity sponsored by the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights (IOHR), comprising non-governmental organizations, unions, activists, politicians, parliament members, and social movements. Its primary objective is to protect the freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Iraqi Constitution and prevent any attempts to undermine it.