Iraqi gov’t not serious to stop violence: Rights group

BAGHDAD

The Iraqi government is not serious in stopping “excessive violence” against anti-government protesters, said the country’s Independent High Commission for Human Rights on Friday.

The commission said that one protester was killed and at least 300 others injured on Thursday in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square.

“The continuous rise in the figure of the victims is an evidence of the government’s lack of seriousness in stopping excessive violence against protesters which is a violation of human rights,” Ali al-Bayati, a representative of the commission, said in a statement.

He stressed that around “five to 20 burn injuries by tear gas” shells are being reported every day at Tahrir Square.

Al-Bayati stressed that those cases spark suspicion and demanded an investigation into the material used in the tear gas canisters of security forces.

Anger has been building in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment and rampant corruption. Many people in the country have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water.

In a related development, Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq said that October marked the worst period of time of journalism freedom since 2003.

The association said 89 cases of violations against journalists took place last month including detention of eight journalists and injury of another 14.

According to World Bank figures, Iraq’s youth unemployment is around 25%. It is also ranked the 12th most-corrupt country in the world by several transparency organizations.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara
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