The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights held today, Monday, a dialogue session to discuss the draft law on freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration, in the presence of the Prime Minister’s Advisor for Human Rights, Zaidan Khalaf, and the participation of activists, journalists, the United Nations Mission “UNAMI,” and a representative of the Canadian Embassy.
The session discussed the role of civil society in promoting human rights principles in Iraqi legislation, and also focused on the comments sent by the government regarding the draft law on freedom of expression of opinion and peaceful demonstration.
Adviser to the Prime Minister for Human Rights, Zaidan Khalaf, said during the session, “The government seeks to guarantee human rights and enhance the protection of rights and freedoms, and has prepared a set of observations for the draft currently in the House of Representatives in accordance with the Iraqi constitution and Iraq’s international obligations.”
He added, “The draft law prepared by the government reached the House of Representatives after completing its discussion with stakeholders,” noting that “the observations made by the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, activists, and non-governmental organizations will be taken into consideration, and we encourage dialogues to expand with the House of Representatives and stakeholders to reach to a law that guarantees freedoms and regulates protests.”
For his part, the head of the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said, “This session aims to create a real dialogue between civil society and the government, and the draft law includes the comments of stakeholders in civil society.”
He added, “The government draft that was recently presented has positives and is better than the draft presented in the House of Representatives, but the risk of legislating the version in Parliament remains great unless parliamentarians hear the observations and opinions of civil society and adhere to the Iraqi constitution and international agreements that Iraq has signed and ratified.”
He explained, “For weeks, the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights has been engaging in dialogue rounds with traditional and emerging political forces, as well as parliamentary committees and non-governmental organizations, to reach a legislative formula that does not reimpose dictatorial laws and take away rights and freedoms.”
Source: National Iraqi News Agency