Angry Demonstrators Shut an Oil Refinery in Iraq

A large number of people, the majority of them university graduates, protested at an oil refinery in southern Iraq on Wednesday to mark a general strike over unemployment.

The protestors gathered in front of Al-Gharraf oilfield in southern Dhi Qar province, demanding jobs with the slogan “when we get a job” and ended up shutting down refinery operations.

“They protested a month after they applied for jobs in the oilfield but received no reply,” a local resident, who requested anonymity, told Anadolu Agency.

There are two oilfields (Nassiriya and Al-Gharraf) in Dhi Qar province, which both produce some 290,000 barrels of oil per day and about 60 million cubic feet of gas.

Crude oil production in Iraq averages 4.5 million barrels per day where oil constitutes 90% of Iraq revenues.

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday to focus on promoting sustainable economic growth and boosting employment opportunities in Iraq.

The MoU brings MoLSA and UNDP together to work on several initiatives, including supporting small enterprises and creating an enabling start-up ecosystem in Iraq.

“At UNDP, we prioritize support to Iraq to diversify the economy, boost sustainable livelihoods and create jobs,” said Zena Ali Ahmad, Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq.

Ahmad furthered UNDP would focus on bolstering efforts to support small enterprises and creating more employment opportunities for Iraqis, “especially vulnerable groups, as we help rebuild Iraq after years of conflict.” 

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