We are outraged by the violence perpetrated in the city of Najaf on February 5 that led to the killing and wounding of peaceful demonstrators. Since October of last year, peaceful demonstrators have taken to the streets to urge government reform. They have been met with threats, brutal violence, and live fire attacks. It is unconscionable that the perpetrators continue to act with impunity. Political figures who incite this violence and government leaders who fail to take steps to protect rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly must be held to account. To date, more than 600 protestors have been killed and thousands injured.
We urge the Government of Iraq to take immediate steps to hold accountable the militias, thugs, and vigilante groups in Najaf and other cities for their attacks against Iraqis exercising their right to peaceful protest. The Government of Iraq should immediately address the protesters legitimate grievances by enacting reforms and tackling corruption.
To the courageous Iraqi people seeking reform and a government free of corruption and Iranian meddling, we offer Americas continued friendship and support. We reaffirm the United States enduring commitment to the Iraqi people and a strong, sovereign, and prosperous Iraq.