Iraqi Unions need help and support.

Tim Lezard meets Iraqi journalist Huda Saber.
Huda Saber, 26, lives in Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. A member of the Journalists union of Kurdistan and an activist in the Kurdistan Syndicate, she works for two newspapers, Workers Arm and Gengeland (Youthland).
‘I wouldn’t say the situation for journalists in Iraq is bleak,’ she says, ‘but it is extremely difficult because of a lack of security. In Kurdistan, though, the security situation is better than the rest of Iraq and we are free to move about and to conduct our daily life.’
‘We’re relatively free to work without the fear of reprisals, but you can’t say we’re totally free from pressure. The government does not interfere as such, at least not openly. I’ve written articles criticising certain aspects of policies and I’m ok.’
‘Since Iraqi Kurdistan became a UN safe haven in 1991, we have had relative stability. Unfortunately the situation in the rest of Iraq is deteriorating.’
‘Trade unions are a positive force here, Since 1991, there has been space for civil society to develop and we have been part of that, organising for the last 15 or 16 years, but we are still facing enormous difficulties and shortages and are in need of international help and support.’
‘Though we have embarked on a new project and a new, democratic, federal Iraq, that only is a project. Yes, we have the commitment of Iraq and Kurdish people, but we need the support of the international community with us.’
This appears in the current edition of the NUJ’s magazine, the Journalist. Tim was a member of the LFIQ delegation to Iraq.