No: 118, 23 April 2013, Press Release Regarding the Operation Launched in the City of Hawija

We have learned with great sorrow and concern that tens of people lost their lives and more than a hundred people were wounded, including the protesters and military personnel, as a result of an operation launched this morning (23 April) against the location of the protesters in the city of Hawija, Kirkuk. First of all, we wish God’s mercy upon all our Iraqi brothers and sisters who lost their lives in these incidents, convey our condolences to their families and hope for the speedy recovery to the wounded. As always, we are ready to provide every kind of assistance including bringing the wounded to our country for treatment.

These protests, which have been going on in different regions of Iraq since last December with a view to voicing various expectations from the Central Government and which are expressions of a fundamental democratic right, have been to a great extent conducted in a peaceful manner until today. We hope that our Iraqi brothers and sisters will continue exercising this democratic right in a peaceful, legal and legitimate framework.

The fact that such an incident took place immediately after the local elections held in 12 provinces of Iraq on 20 April has heightened our concerns regarding the future of this country. In this delicate period that Iraq and our region has been undergoing, we hope that the Iraqi authorities, acting with mutual understanding and common sense, will take expeditious steps to establish internal peace and stability and strengthen democracy rather than steps that would further escalate the tension in the country as was the case in the last operation launched in Hawija.