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Iraq: educators join nationwide demonstration

The Iraqi Teachers’ Union called for a four-day strike starting on 28 October in solidarity with demonstrators urging public authorities to provide jobs, quality public services and to put an end to a political system that has failed them.

The Iraqi Teachers’ Union (ITU) informed Education International (EI) that, since the beginning of the wave of unrest in the country, over a hundred people were killed and thousands wounded in the capital city of Baghdad, as security forces are cracking down on demonstrators. 
 
As teachers and trade unionists, ITU leaders and members are participating in and supporting the peaceful demonstrations. Moreover, the education union fully supports the demonstrators and their legitimate demands, which are vital to ensuring decent living standards. 
 
Therefore, ITU calls on their government to: 
  • Open an investigation into the killing of demonstrators and security forces; and hold accountable those who have committed such crimes;  
  • Resign after its failure to fulfil the demands of Iraqi people;  
  • Introduce amendments to the constitution banning governmental appointments on the basis of sectarian or ethnic quotas (known as Al Mohassassa), rather than on merit;  
  • Ensure the independence of the Iraqi judiciary system;  
  • End the widespread state corruption;  
  • Stop granting privileges to an elite, such as unjustified and multiple salaries; and 
  • Set up a new autonomous electoral commission. 
 
ITU has warned educators will go on an open-ended strike if the government does not respond genuinely to the demands of the Iraqi people. 
 
The union also calls on the international community, especially the United Nations, to ask the government of Iraq to protect the rights of peaceful demonstrators and put a halt to the clear violations of the freedom of association and assembly. 
 
“We urge the Iraqi government to end its brutal repression of demonstrators, a repression that violates the country’s own labour laws, as well as its obligations as a member state of the International Labour Organisation,” stated David Edwards, Education International’s General Secretary, in support of ITU and Iraqi people. “The Iraqi government must listen to those legitimate demands and address the political, economic and social factors in which the citizens’ discontent is rooted.”