UN envoy expresses sorrow for fall of victims during Basra protests

Iraq suffers from acute financial crisis due to dropped oil prices and anti-terrorism expenses [File photo]

BAGHDAD ( – Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq Ján Kubiš expresses sorrow Wednesday for the fall of victims during violent protests between security forces and protesters over the lack of critical public services in Iraq’s oil hub Basra.

In a statement published on the website of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Kubiš offered condolences to the families of the dead and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

“Mr. Kubiš calls for calm and urges the authorities to avoid using disproportionate, lethal force against the demonstrators, provide the necessary protection for the people of Basra, ensure human rights while protecting law and order,” the statement read.

Kubiš also requested to “investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the outbreak of the violence” and called on the Iraqi government to do its utmost to respond to the people’s rightful demands of clean water and electricity supplies as a matter of urgency.

“Mr. Kubiš urges political leaders and the newly elected Council of Representatives to assume their duties and act responsibly and without delay, including taking all the necessary steps to expeditiously agree on a new national, patriotic and pro-reform government that will quickly and effectively respond to the people’s longstanding needs and deliver on their basic demands of water and electricity and the longer-term goal of job creation and life in dignity,” the statement concluded.

Six Iraqi protesters were killed while 60 others were injured Tuesday in clashes with security forces in Basra.

According to BasNews website, the clashes erupted after protesters stormed the Basra government building and set it alight, prompting security forces to open fire at them, leaving six protesters dead and at least 60 injured.

In turn, Iraqi authorities imposed a curfew in the southern province to contain clashes between the two sides.

Oil-rich Basra is one of the southern Iraqi cities that have recently witnessed mass protests over the dire state of the nation’s economy. The demonstrators are rallying against poor public services and corruption.

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