Meeting between Ufuq, ICNL and Iraqi Parliament Committees to discuss Freedom of Expression draft Law

On Wednesday, Ufuq Organization for Human Development, and its partners from the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) held a meeting with the Iraqi Parliament’s Human Rights Committee and Culture and Media Committee, along with their members. The meeting was attended by Ufuq’s President, Ali Bakht, Ufuq’s Executive Director, Mr. Wissam Ibrahim Anber, ICNL’s Regional Director, Ms. Kristen Mcgeaney, and colleagues from Kurdistan, represented by Ms. Gheyath Ali. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the draft Law “Freedom of Expression, Assembly, and Peaceful Demonstration”.

The meeting was attended by several parliament members, including Mr. Arshad Al-Salihi, Chairman of the Human Rights Committee, Ms. Nisan Zair, Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Hussein Ali Mardan, Mr. Farouq Hana Atou, Chairman of the Culture and Media Committee, and Ms. Samaia Ghulab, Deputy Chairman of the Committee.

During the meeting, Mr. Arshad Al-Salihi emphasized the importance of passing the law and both committees’ commitment to legislate it after making substantive amendments to it. Ms. Nisan Zair suggested holding special listening sessions to discuss the Freedom of Expression Law, stating that the amendment process must be done at the required level.

Mr. Farouq Hana Autou noted that the two committees are still reviewing the law’s provisions and examining their suitability with the Iraqi constitution and international agreements. Mr. Hussein Ali Mardan stressed the need to continue holding meetings and dialogues to reach a law that meets the aspirations of the Iraqi street. Ms. Samaia Ghulab pointed out that the law was proposed in the legal context, and it is difficult to prepare a new law draft.

Furthermore, Ufuq’s President explained that the meeting with the committees reinforces the partnership with civil society organizations and contributes to reaching an ideal law format. At the end of the meeting, it was agreed to proceed with the law draft, with substantive amendments to it, and to hold a listening session with the participation of civil society organizations and concerned parties to reach a law that ensures the freedom of expression, assembly, and peaceful demonstration.