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Global Health in the News: A Series (I) - Iraq

Introducing our new segment where each month a member of our committee will share a piece of news that has been important to them during the month.

Iraq


“In recent weeks, anti-government demonstrations in cities across Iraq have been growing, as hundreds of thousands gather to voice their frustration and anger over corruption alleged Iranian interference, high unemployment, poor government services, and years of economic stagnation. More than 250 people have been reportedly killed in clashes with Iraqi security forces while taking part in some of the largest demonstrations since 2003. Protestors are demanding a complete overhaul of the government” [The Atlantic]


In a country with a median age of 20, and with 58% of its population under the age of 24, years of Iraqi civilians calling for change since the Arab Spring revolts in 2011 has escalated into the biggest protests the country has seen in sixteen years.


4 out of 5 youth are unemployed and 80% of jobs created are in the government-controlled public sector. As of 2012, 18.9% Iraqis are under the poverty line (3.5% drop over 6 years) [World Bank] compared to the OECD average of 11%.


“Occasionally, demonstrators took to throwing stones at ambulances, signalling not only the same kind of frustration with the government they were expressing in the streets but also a lack of trust in the state – including public hospitals” [The New Humanitarian]

The picture shows CAT scans shared with Amnesty International by medical professionals in Iraq show how tear gas grenades pierced protesters' skulls, causing horrific and fatal injuries amid protests in Baghdad in late October 2019. Credit: Private

References: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/10/iraq-gruesome-string-of-fatalities-as-new-tear-gas-grenades-pierce-protesters-skulls/

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