UN ready to engage with all Iraqis to meet demands of anti-gov't protests: envoy

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-14 02:49:42|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BAGHDAD, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said on Wednesday that it will continue to engage with all Iraqi parties to meet the demands of the ongoing anti-government protests over worsening living conditions in the country.

Over the past six weeks "hundreds of thousands of peaceful Iraqis have been protesting, making genuine, legitimate demands, loud and clear," said Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, special representative of the UN secretary-general for Iraq, in her address to the Iraqi parliament.

"These demands cover a wide spectrum of issues: an end to corruption, economic growth, employment, reliable public services, prudent and impartial governance, credible elections, as well as a broader reform of the political system including amendments to the constitution," added Hennis-Plasschaert, head of the UNAMI.

Since the beginning of the protests, UNAMI has actively reached out to a wide range of Iraqi parties, actors and authorities, including the President, Prime Minister and the parliament Speaker, in addition to the Supreme Judicial Council, peaceful protesters, parliament members and union representatives.

"Based on these discussions and with full respect for Iraq's sovereignty, we have proposed a number of concrete steps as a start, as a way forward to confidence-building and reform," she noted.

Since the start of the protests in early October, at least 319 people have been killed and around 15,000 from peaceful protesters and the security forces injured, according to Hennis-Plasschaert.

"The United Nations is ready to engage or continues to engage with all parties to facilitate constructive dialogue. We will continue to be a partner for all Iraqis," the UN envoy concluded.

Mass demonstrations have continued in the capital Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq since early October, demanding comprehensive reform, accountability for corruption, improvement of public services and job opportunities.